Israel MPs take first step toward electoral reform
JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israel’s parliament took a first step on Wednesday towards reining in the country’s extreme form of proportional representation in a bid to make governments more stable.
The bill, which is backed by larger parties but strongly opposed by smaller factions representing Israeli Arabs and ultra-Orthodox Jews, was approved at first reading by 64 votes to 49 with one abstention.
The text, which would raise the threshold for parties to win seats in parliament from two percent to four, still needs to be approved at two further readings to become law.
If passed, the law would force the smaller parties that draw their support largely or exclusively from among Israel’s Arab and Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox minorities to field joint lists or risk not winning any seats.