Wednesday, May 09, 2012
The following is the actual set of notes I typed after attending a lecture at the Prima King Hotel. It will explain how the system works. If you have questions or comments, email me and I’ll try to explain more.
The bracketed areas are mine, the other are from Professor Hazen.
Notes and comments from Prof. Hazan Lecture 1.17.08 (Jerusalem)
75% of the world’s democracies are parliamentary.
Israel only gets one national vote. Never for a person. Only for a party.
After the election, the top party has 60 days – by law – to build a coalition majority government.
[There is an asterisk by this. This is what normally happens! But as we reported last week the President enters the equation if he believes the leading candidate cannot form a government. In that case he can ask another candidate to attempt to cobble together a government.
[The chosen candidate then tries to get the leaders of opposing parties to join his coalition government. In other words he forms a cabinet from the people who just ran against him or her!
[If a candidate has enough votes to take sixty-one seats in the Knesset, then they do not form a coalition government. He or she has a majority already and just becomes Prime Minister.
[Last year Tzipi Livni won the Kadima vote upon Olmert’s resignation. She tried to form a government from parties in his coalition and others. She failed. She won the most seats in the 2009 national election, but polling the members of the Knesset, President Peres was assured that she could not form a coalition this time around either and gave the nod to Netanyahu.
[Additionally he will know that the majority of current Knesset members prefer a right of center government.-EDM]
Max. of 4 years for a party to serve before new elections. [EDM- average for the past 10 years has been 2+ years before a government collapses.]
Parliamentary system is “maddening” and / or adaptable, depending on one’s perspective.
Q: Why so many (30) parties in IL?
It only takes 30 signatures and about NIS 2000 to form a party. This is in place of “special interest groups” in the States. The AARP could never afford to be a party but in IL there is the Pensioner’s Party. And they were in the last coalition government.
IL is only one district, as opposed to the “winner take all” in the US system.
The percentage of national votes goes to create the percentage of seats in the IL system. 5% of votes = 5% of the 120 seats in Knesset.
“Democracy is a huge word!” (Professor Hazan)
Explain how #2 moves up to #1 if the #1 quits (Tony Blair) or dies or gets incapacitated (Ari Sharon).
[In the parliamentary system there is a list of leadership in each party, established when the party had its primary. If the top person retires, dies or is incapacitated, etc., there are not new elections. Number two moves up a notch and the bottom person off the list, is promoted upward and is now on the list. Clear as mud?]
The government continues rather than new elections. The #31 guy on the list becomes #30, and it just goes on.
One month before the elections, every party has to publish its list of leaders. But we know what % of the votes the party will get, so we can deduce what the people will be in the Knesset basically.
There are 12 parties in the Knesset right now. (2008)
Elections here are existential.
I.E., they mean survival here. We know that issues like Iran are troublesome to the US but here it is about survival if Iran gets the nuke.
When a mother who has a 15 year old votes she knows that before the next election that child may be in the military and at war.
* Caretaker Government: after 3 no confidence votes the government is frozen and a caretaker govt. takes over. The government functions but there are no major decisions.
Cooperative in crisis because the politicians know it should be “political” (EM as Bibi did in the time of the Lebanon ’06 war.)
[Also, Livni and Algore have something in common – they “won” an election but not the top spot. (Actually after numerous recounts paid for by even the liberal media, Bush won the popular vote too, but don’t tell the Dems.)]
[KING MAKERS, BUT NOT KINGS
[As you might guess if you really studied the notes from Professor Hazan, there is a great possibility for some party leader who didn’t win lots of votes to actually decide which person in another party becomes Prime Minister.
[(Written before the Netanyahu Government was formed with Lieberman in it.)
[Enter Avigdor Lieberman of Israeli Beiteinu. Currently he is under investigation for money laundering. But, still his party is the one that could go with either Livni or Netanyahu. They could be the “thumb on the scale” that determines the number of votes necessary to form the next government.
[HERE IS A THOUGHT:
[History reports Peres has been a social liberal all his career. But he was also always up for election. This time it is not so. And according to a report this week he said that he now believes that pulling out of Gaza was a bad thing. In my files is a photo of him and Sharon shaking hands at the time Ari announced the pull out.
[Labor (Peres’ old party before the founding of Kadima) has long been opposed to settling Israelis in the West Bank or Gaza. Now he is independent as President and can say what he thinks, more or less. And he says that unilateral pull outs are not in Israel’s best interest.
[Why? Because he knows that the “waist” of Israel, near Netanya is only 9 miles from Qalkilya, and missiles in the hands of radicals go multiplied times that today. Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, all the industrial areas and population centers of Israel are in the crosshairs. Peres is a liberal, but he is also a patriot. He won’t want to put Israel under attack all over the nation.
Special Thanks to Professor Hazan for his in depth knowledge on this subject. We owe him a great debt for taking a complex subject and making it much clearer to Western minds.