Over the past few months the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee has been deliberating the governance bill, which, among other things, would limit the number of ministers and deputy ministers, require a majority of 61 MKs to pass a no-confidence motion and raise the threshold for a party to enter the Knesset from the current 2% of the total vote to 3.25%. The bill`s supporters say it will help stabilize Israel’s system of government by making the government less vulnerable to demands from small parties.
During a debate held two weeks ago, the committee decided to separate the proposal to raise the electoral threshold from the larger Governance Bill, making it easier for opponents to absent themselves from the vote and keep the coalition from getting the absolute majority it needs – at least 61 MKs.
At the request of MK Ronen Hoffman (Yesh Atid), one of the bill`s authors, a revote was held during Wednesday`s meeting, and the MKs voted 6-5 to keep the bills together.
Following the revote, MK Jamal Zahalka of the National Democratic Assembly Party said, ”This is another black day for the Justice Committee.” MK David Rotem of the Likud-Yisrael Beitenu faction, who is the committee`s chairman and one of the bill’s initiators, said in response: ”I hope you will have many more black days such as this one.”
However, MKs Dov Khenin (Hadash) and Merav Michaeli (Israel Labor Party) requested a second revote. The committee’s legal adviser, Sigal Kogut, approved the request, and after Committee Chairman MK Rotem also gave his okay, the bill`s five opponents won the vote to separate the electoral threshold proposal from the Governance Bill, with only MK Rotem opposing.
MK Rotem announced his intention to demand a third revote, but Kogut said the law did not permit more than two revotes on the same topic.
In light of the development, the proposal to raise the electoral threshold will come up for a vote in the Knesset as a separate bill, not as a clause within the Governance Bill.