Coalition Building Game, or Why the Election Don’t Matter

Posted: November 22nd, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: elections | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Strangely enough, almost three months before the election, it is pretty clear what the next government will look like. It’s not because we know who’ll win – Netanyahu has the upper hand, but it’s too early to call this one – but because of some circumstances created by the Israeli political system, combined with the current political dynamics.

Before I explain this, here is a remainder of the rules of the game: Israel is a parliamentary representative democracy. It has a general, multi-party system (there are no counties’ or districts’ representatives). The Knesset’s 120 seats are allocated proportionally between all parties who passed the minimum 2% threshold.
After the election, the president (currently Shimon Peres) gives the task of forming a new government to the member of Knesset who has the support of a majority of MKs. This person then must build – and later on maintain – a coalition of at least 61 MKs. Usually, when the prime minister loses the majority, the government will fall.

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