[EM] Amnon rubinstein's Proposal for Your Consideration

Doreen Dotan dordot2001 at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 20 07:55:31 PDT 2006

A bill, the merits of which I'd appreciate if the members of the list would consider and be kind enough to respond to, was introduced back in the late '80s by Professor Amnon Rubinstein (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amnon_Rubinstein), founder of the "Shinui" Party before Tommy Lapid's party took that name and before the original Shinui merged with Meretz. Yitzchak Rabin thought well of the plan and decided to push it through. Binyamin Netanyahu saw fit to reverse it (without a Knesset vote, BTW). The plan was then effectively "buried".

  The plan that was contemplated was a bit complex-- not a simple district/borough/canton-based slate. 
  There were a few compromises were made in his original proposal, in hopes of getting enough votes to pass it. It did get through a couple of Knesset hearings before Netanyahu was successful in torpedoing it.

  The basic idea was two-fold: 

  1) To separate the party lists we presently vote for into regional slates and a general list thus: 

  Divide the country into 40 election districts with 2 representatives for each district. Representatives *must* be residents of the district they represent. 

  The remaining 40 representatives are elected according to the general count, from a separate list. A regional candidate may not be on the national list. 

  This would give 120 Knesset members, only 1/3 of whom are elected according to the present system, with district representatives accountable to their electorate. 
  It would also demolish the small, specific interest-based parties that have often held entire governments up for ransom with the threat of leaving a narrow coalition. 

  2) Electing the PM would be on a personal, name-based ballot, and the winner would be determined by a national count-- very simply, the candidate winning the popular vote is the PM. 

  "Constructing" a government would not require a coalition, and Cabinet members would have to resign from the Knesset to serve as government ministers. This would ensure separation of the legislative and executive branches. 

  This was all brought about after then PM Yitzchak Shamir was presented with a petition containing more than 1.5 million signatures (over half the registered voters at the time) calling for electoral reform. His reply, in a live TV interview was, "I'm amazed that the voters think they can interfere in workings that are none of their business." 
  My major concerns about this plan are two:
  Israeli settlements and towns tend to be enclaves of political ideological homogeneity. Gerrymandering would be an almost inevitable result of dividing the country into 40 districts. Thus, while the representatives from the districts would be answerable to the districts, they would be answerable to the majority that voted them in and minority opinions would be wholly disenfranchised.
  I tend to agree with James Gilmour's opinion that electing officials on varying bases and in staggered elections would create problems. It seems to me that rather than it creating continuity, which may or may not be desirable in any case; I think it would create an imbalance of power among the representatives.
  Thank you in advance for you input and feedback.



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