The Israeli Mixed Electoral System: Unexpected Reciprocal and Cumulative Consequences

Reuven Y. Hazan

in Mixed-Member Electoral Systems

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780199257683
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600241 | DOI:

Series: Comparative Politics

 The Israeli Mixed Electoral System: Unexpected Reciprocal and Cumulative Consequences

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This analyzes the consequences of the Israeli version of a mixed electoral system, in which a majoritarian method of electing the head of the executive branch was grafted onto an extremely proportional system of electing the legislature. Focuses on the first two elections in which this mixed system was implemented, 1996 and 1999, and in doing so, concentrates on two aspects of the elections: the election results, i.e., the decimation of the two main parties and the rise of sectarian parties (fragmentation of the parliamentary system); and the electoral dynamics, i.e., the convergence toward the center in both the executive and the legislative elections. The most significant ramifications of the implementation of the direct popular election of the prime minister have been a significant shift in the electoral strength of the parties and a dramatic change in the competitive electoral orientation of the Israeli party system. Neither result was expected by those who initiated and propelled the electoral reform, while many of the actual expectations of the reform were not met. Arranged in the following sections: The Israeli Version of a Mixed Electoral System and Resulting Hybrid Political System; and The Consequences of the Mixed Electoral System for (1) Electoral Competition, (2) Political Representation, and (3) Electoral Efficiency.

Keywords: direct election of the prime minister; election results; electoral competition; electoral dynamics; electoral efficiency; electoral reform; electoral systems; executive elections; hybrid systems; Israel; legislative elections; majoritarian systems; mixed‐member electoral systems; party system; political representation; political systems; proportional systems

Chapter.  13383 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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