The Politics of Reform in Israel: How the Israeli Mixed System Came to Be

Gideon Rahat*

*Corresponding author for this work

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

1 Scopus citations


An analysis of the factors and the processes that led to the adoption of a mixed-member electoral system in Israel. The first section analyzes the characteristics of the Israeli prereform extreme electoral (hyper-representative) system according to the two dimensions (intraparty and interparty) suggested by Shugart in Ch. 2; it also presents a brief discussion of reform initiatives, intended to provide solutions to some of the electoral system pathologies, and explains their failure. The second section discusses the developments in the intraparty dimension-the parties' tendencies from the 1970s on to adopt more and more inclusive selectorates for candidate selection (this was reform outside the constitutional and legislative framework). The final section discusses the developments in the interparty dimension-patching a majoritarian feature onto a proportional system; this is an analysis of the politics of reform-the factors and the processes that led to the adoption of direct election of the prime minister, and includes five elements: long-term developments that served as background factors; events that served as catalysts during the struggle for and against reform; a description of the political actors who took part in this struggle; the characteristics of the mixed system that make it more fit for promotion and its use by the reformers to overcome the primary advantage of the institutional status quo; and, lastly, the four stages of the reform process. An appendix lists major events and dates.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationMixed-Member Electoral Systems
Subtitle of host publicationThe Best of Both Worlds?
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191600241
ISBN (Print)0199240795, 9780199257683
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2003

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© the various contributors 2001. All rights reserved.


  • Direct election of the prime minister
  • Electoral history
  • Electoral reform
  • Electoral systems
  • Extreme electoral systems
  • Hyper-representative systems
  • Interparty dimension
  • Intraparty dimension
  • Israel
  • Majoritarian systems
  • Mixed-member electoral systems
  • Prime minister
  • Proportional systems
  • Selectorates


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