Absurd Government Bodes Another Election

The March election delivered a clear (and surprising) lead to Benjamin Netanyahu, and a mandate from President Rubi Rivlin for Netanyahu to form the next Government.

Two months later, torturous negotiations with Likud's 'natural partners' only produced a shoddy coalition with a knife edge majority of 61-59 seats.

In Netanyahu's opening speech to the new Knesset, he highlighted a gaping flaw in Israel's democracy - the ability of small parties to wield disproportionate powers.

The average length of any Israeli Government is around two years, rather than the constitutional 4 year full term.

This is itself a misleading statistic, as it understates the chaos of Governments collapsing, calling elections, cobbling together rickety coalitions, and then trying to take responsible decisions and legislation. Until it collapses again.  

Raising the electoral threshold prior to this election was a small step in the direction of fixing the small party problem; however, this resulted in the formation of pragmatic political blocks - such as the United Arab List, which was very successful, and Yachad, which flopped.

The irony is that fixing such a fundamental problem in Israel's democracy would require a strong majority of like-minded politicians to enforce - a conundrum, which will not be resolved in the foreseeable future.

Indeed decision making of any sort in our new narrow government is going to be a nightmare.

It just needs a couple of MK's to be unwell, abroad, or just plain Difficult (the most likely of all scenarios..), and the Government will be paralyzed.

That would likely lead to the Government losing a vote of no confidence, and yet another round of elections.

You'll remember that this whole election fiasco was as a result of Yair Lapid being caught holding secret negotiations with the Hareidim to overthrow Netanyahu. An attempted political coup.

In previous eras one would call it 'treachery', and have had Lapid summarily beheaded.

Those were the days.


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