Israel: The Politics of an Extreme Electoral System

Gideon Rahat and Reuven Y. Hazan

in The Politics of Electoral Systems

Published in print September 2005 | ISBN: 9780199257560
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603280 | DOI:
Israel: The Politics of an Extreme Electoral System

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Israel had a closed list PR system that was so proportional that it resulted in a large multi-party system with a very fragmented parliament. One result is that for decades, Israel experienced difficulties in building and maintaining large coalition governments, often containing several small and more extreme parties, which can and do yield blackmail powers. The failure to reform the actual electoral system led to misguided attempts at institutional engineering. Reformers attempted to alleviate some of the effects of the electoral system by adopting party primaries and directly electing the prime minister. However, the unintended consequences of these reforms were immediate. Primaries undermined party discipline, while the direct election of the Prime Minister made the problem of sustaining coalition governments worse than before the reform. Israel has since returned to a ‘single-ballot’ system.

Keywords: closed list PR; single nationwide district; polarization; volatility; electoral reform; direct election; split-ticket voting

Chapter.  9135 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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