Israel: the politics of an extreme electoral system

Gideon Rahat*, Reuven Y. Hazan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Israel had a closed list PR system that was so proportional that it resulted in a large multiparty system with a very fragmented parliament. One result is that for decades, Israel experienced difficulties in building and maintaining large coalition governments, often containing several small and more extreme parties, which can and do yield blackmail powers. The failure to reform the actual electoral system led to misguided attempts at institutional engineering. Reformers attempted to alleviate some of the effects of the electoral system by adopting party primaries and directly electing the prime minister. However, the unintended consequences of these reforms were immediate. Primaries undermined party discipline, while the direct election of the Prime Minister made the problem of sustaining coalition governments worse than before the reform. Israel has since returned to a 'single-ballot' system.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationThe politics of electoral systems
EditorsMichael Gallagher, Paul Mitchell
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780191603280
ISBN (Print)9780199257560
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2006

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Oxford University Press, 2014.


  • Closed list pr
  • Direct election
  • Electoral reform
  • Polarization
  • Single nationwide district
  • Split-ticket voting
  • Volatility


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