Knesset Panel Okays Proposal to Raise Election Threshold to 2.5 Percent

Proposal to be added to package of changes to system of government that will be brought for Knesset approval in winter session.

The Knesset Constitution and Justice Committee approved on Wednesday a proposal to raise the threshold in parliamentary elections from 2 percent to 2.5 percent of the vote.

The proposal will be added to a series of changes to Israel's system of government that Kadima MK Menachem Ben-Sasson intends to bring to Knesset approval.

Ben-Sasson on Wednesday was unable, however, to secure approval for his proposal to automatically grant the head of the party that wins the most votes the right to be first to try and form a government. The committee vote on the matter ended in an 8-8 tie.

Currently, the president selects the party chairman who will form the government, and does so based on which party has the greatest chance of forming a coalition that will receive Knesset backing.

According to Ben-Sasson, two committee members reneged on their support for the proposal. The Kadima MK added that he intends to resubmit the proposal for a vote once he is convinced it has a majority.

The Knesset plenum is not expected to vote on the package of changes to the system of government prior to its winter session.