Election Threshold Up for Grabs Again

YERUSHALAYIM -

The electoral threshold for representation in the Knesset is under review once again.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s office confirmed that he is thinking about lowering the threshold from its current 3.25 percent of the national vote count back down to as low as 2 percent, where it was before the Knesset raised it three years ago.

A spokesman for PM Netanyahu said that while the change might come, he hasn’t decided on a percentage yet, Channel 2 reported.

The change was last made in legislation sponsored by Yesh Atid, ostensibly to promote more stability to Israel’s election-weary coalition system. However, the most significant result of the higher threshold was the merger of three small Arab parties into the Joint List, giving them more clout as the thirdlargest party with 13 seats, while to the chagrin of the left, Meretz was nearly excluded from the Knesset altogether. Meanwhile, the goal of stability was not attained, as the government continues to operate under almost constant threat of new elections.

The contemplated move has been attributed in the media to politics, not good government. A source close to PM Netanyahu said it was prompted by recent polls showing that Shas and Yisrael Beytenu will have trouble making the threshold in the next election.

Lowering the electoral threshold will “reinforce the right-wing bloc,” he said.

However, PM Netanyahu hasn’t consulted his coalition partners yet. Interior Minister and Shas leader Rabbi Aryeh Deri reportedly opposes the idea.