Likud minister: We may have to hold early elections

Likud minister Akunis says disagreements may force early elections, suggests raising threshold to enter Knesset to 10%.

Hezki Baruch ,

Ofir Akunis
Ofir Akunis
Flash 90

Science, Technology, and Space Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) claimed that if disagreements between the coalition parties continue, elections would need to be held early.

At a Shabbatarbut event in the central city of Ramat Gan, Akunis said the Israeli government is working to approve the budget created earlier this year, and in elections held only at the end of its term, in 2019.

However, he said, "If the coalition's current state continues, we will have no choice but to hold elections in the middle of 2018."

Akunis also expressed opposition to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's proposal to lower the electoral threshold.

"Not only do I oppose lowering the threshold, I believe we need to raise it to 10% in order to create a two-party system similar to those in the world's other large democracies," he said.

The current percentage of votes a party must receive in order to enter the Knesset is 3.25%. This percentage was approved last year, costing the religious Yachad party its seats.

In April 2015, IDF Radio published recordings of a Shas activist from Jerusalem guiding his friends on how to harm Yachad on elections day. Suggestions included pocketing Yachad's slips, as well as various ways to invalidate them.

Meanwhile, Shas Chairman Interior Minister Aryeh Deri insisted that "the law lowering the threshold will not pass, and no one should dare try to pass it."

One recent poll showed Shas as gaining 3 seats in the next election, while another showed the party as gaining 4 seats, barely passing the minimum electoral threshold of 3.25%.