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Israel

Flawed Electoral System : Obstacle to Peace and Democracy

This Policy Brief examines the history of Israel’s electoral system and its impact on the peace process. Israel’s deeply flawed
electoral system is an obstacle to reversing its ill-fated settlement and occupation policies and to making peace with
the Palestinians. It contributes to chronic governmental instability, increased power of the religious right, and a lack of
accountability for individual leaders. Despite these costs, previous efforts at reform have largely failed.

Israeli politics is notable for its wide array of parties and unstable coalition governments. The main institutional cause
of this chronic instability is the system of nationwide proportional representation, which gives disproportionate influence
to minor parties. This instability limits the ability of Israeli governments to pursue coherent long-term strategies
and leads to policies that address the concerns of minority groups at the expense of the national interest. Most critically,
Israel’s deeply flawed electoral system has been an obstacle to Israel’s ability to reverse its ill-fated settlement and occupation
policies and to make peace with the Palestinians. Electoral reforms that increase accountability and promote
governmental cohesion would provide the basis for a more stable and effective system of governance, and help ensure the
future of a liberal and democratic Jewish state.

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Les opinions exprimées et les arguments avancés dans cet article demeurent l'entière responsabilité de l'auteur-e et ne reflètent pas nécessairement ceux du CETRI.