New Election Law Eliminating Small Parties Discussed in Israel

A special Ministerial committee met here last night to consider the proposed government election law limiting representation in Parliament to those parties which command ten percent of the total vote in a national election.

The committee, consisting of representatives of the four parties in the coalition came to no decision. Minister without portfolio Pinchas Lavon and Minister of Health Joseph Serlin, representing the Mapai and General Zionists, respectively, favored the law. Minister of Justice Dr. Pinchas Rosen and Minister of Religion Moshe Shapira, of the Progressive and Poale Mizrachi Parties, opposed the law. The General Zionists entered the coalition on the understanding that such a measure would be proffered by the government.

After the meeting, Benjamin Mintz, speaking for the religious elements in the coalition, declared that “if the bill is passed it will rob the smaller parties of representation in the Knesset. ” A Progressive spokesman later said that the tendency to create a two party system in Israel will “only harm Israel’s democracy. “

The proposed electoral law provides that the country shall be divided into 30 electoral districts, with each district electing three deputies to Parliament. The remaining 30 members of the 120-man Knesset shall be made up of representatives of the parties receiving more than ten percent of the total vote.

Meanwhile, the praesidium of the coalition parties represented in the Knesset met last night to act on the deteriorating of relations among the government partners. Two developments have played important parts in creating friction: consideration of the ten percent electoral law; and the abstention of the Mizrachi and Poale Mizrachi parties from the voting on the National Service Bill for women.

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