Good Governance Bill Gets Good Going Over

YERUSHALAYIM -
Yisrael Beiteinu MK David Rotem. (FLASH90)
Yisrael Beiteinu MK David Rotem. (FLASH90)

One party’s idea of good governance is another party’s idea of a shameless grab for power.

So it was in the Knesset on Wednesday as Knesset Law, Constitution and Justice Committee chairman David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu) unveiled his new bill, innocently titled, “Increase of Governance and Raising of the Electoral Threshold.”

Its vision of a streamlined parliamentary system includes: a requirement that no-confidence motions must be supported by a majority of the Knesset and an alternate candidate for prime minister (currently any faction may introduce a no-confidence motion, a frequent occurrence); raising the threshold for representation in the Knesset to four percent (to curb the influence of small parties, especially Arab ones); and limiting the number of ministers including the prime minister to 19 and deputy ministers to four, saving millions of shekels on ministers without portfolio and without anything in particular to do.

The draft legislation would also strike a potentially devastating blow to some small parties by denying government funding for the election campaigns of those which failed to pass the electoral threshold.

Opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) accused Yisrael Beiteinu MKs of having something other than good governance in mind.

“While he sits on the defendant’s dock and is even barred from being a minister in the government, [Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor] Lieberman is brewing totalitarian legislation that suits his character and that of his party but does not match the values of … a democratic state,” she said.

Shas co-chairman Eli Yishai said there is no better example of why there should be a no-confidence motion against the government than Yisrael Beiteinu’s proposal.

“There is no doubt that a law like this would be welcome in some countries in South America,” he said. “Some MKs need to take a course: Introduction to Democracy and Civics.”

Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On said that “in the name of government stability, Lieberman will increase the tyranny of the majority. As it is, the prime minister has too much power.” She suggested that instead of changing the system of government, its members should be changed.

The bill will be sent to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation next Monday.