New Knesset Bill to Greatly Limit the Calling of Early Elections

The Knesset instead would have the right to oust the prime minister, and another lawmaker would form a new government.

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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The Knesset plenum, July 2015.
The Knesset plenum, July 2015.Credit: Emil Salman
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

MK Nissan Slomiansky (Habayit Hayehudi) has submitted a bill that would greatly limit the Knesset’s ability to dissolve itself and call an early election. Israeli general elections would simply take place every four years.

Under the legislation, the Knesset would be able to oust a prime minister and another MK would form a new government.

The bill would strengthen the MKs vis-a-vis the prime minister, who would not be able to call an early election if he thought his party was poised to do well.

MK Nissan Slomiansky at the Knesset, 2014.Credit: Michal Fattal

According to sources in Habayit Hayehudi, the bill has already won support in the cabinet and will be discussed soon by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation.

Slomiansky said his bill would change the face of Israeli politics; he mentioned opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union).

“If Herzog knew that the Knesset couldn’t be dissolved for the next four years, maybe he’d enter the coalition,” Slomiansky said.

According to Slomiansky, “Such a law would help build stable coalitions and prevent scheming and attempts to bring down the government and call a new election, not to mention the high cost to the economy of such a move.”

The bill would also quash the law under which the Knesset must be dissolved if a prime minister cannot pass the budget. Instead, only the prime minister would resign and a successor would be appointed.

The bill would allow the dissolving of the Knesset under two circumstances; one, if no government could be formed based on an election result, or, two, if an election result meant the new cabinet could not function properly.

“If the next elections also come within two years, democracy will suffer greatly,” Slomiansky said, adding that “voter turnout would fall to 40 percent.”

Slomiansky says frequent election campaigns paralyze the country. “Election year is always a lost year. There are no Knesset sessions and government ministries don’t function until coalition talks are completed,” he said.

“A minister can’t make long-term plans, not even for five years because he knows that in a year or two he’ll no longer be in office. This law will prevent such situations.”