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The Politics of Electoral Systems$
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Michael Gallagher and Paul Mitchell

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199257560

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199257566.001.0001

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Israel: The Politics of an Extreme Electoral System

Israel: The Politics of an Extreme Electoral System

Chapter:
(p.333) 16 Israel: The Politics of an Extreme Electoral System
Source:
The Politics of Electoral Systems
Author(s):

Gideon Rahat (Contributor Webpage)

Reuven Y. Hazan (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199257566.003.0016

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

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