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Israel: Prospects for Electoral Reform
Country Study > Chapter 4 > Government and Politics > Prospects for Electoral Reform


The structural crisis facing the Israeli political system has been attributed to a number of factors. Such factors include the absence of a written constitution that provides for the separation of state and religion and safeguards the rights of the individual. Another factor often cited is the country's inability to form effective coalition governments and cabinets -- a phenomenon caused by a breakdown of the dominant party system and the resulting inability of any one major party to garner a parliamentary majority. As a consequence, in forming coalitions each major party has had to depend heavily on smaller parties bent on promoting their own narrow interests.

Various reforms have been proposed to blunt the disruptive role of minor parties. One suggestion is to change the electoral system of pure proportional representation, raising the minimum percentage threshold required to obtain a Knesset seat. One of the most comprehensive studies of this problem, The Political System in Israel: Proposals for Change, edited by Baruch Zisar, argues that the negative features of the Israeli electoral system have so far outweighed its positive attributes. The study concludes that individual district constituencies may offer Israel the best form of electoral representation.

Following the stalemated results of the November 1988 Knesset elections, a committee composed of representatives of the two major parties was set up to study changes in the proportional representation system. In a newspaper interview, Shimon Peres admitted that "The democratic system in Israel has reached a point in which it has begun to be ineffective and a change is demanded in the electoral system."

Data as of December 1988

Last Updated: December 1988

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Israel was first published in 1988. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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Section 127 of 206


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