Knesset Bars Election Law Changes, Blocks Direct Vote for Candidates

Efforts to establish a system of direct voting for candidates, replacing the present system of election by proportional representation were defeated today and hopes of introducing a two-party system in Israel were badly set back.

The Knesset today, in a vote cutting across coalition lines, passed the first reading of a measure barring any change in existing election laws unless it were carried by an absolute majority of the house. The bill is certain of passage on its next two readings.

The Mapai and General Zionists fought passage of the measure but all the other parties, ranging from the right-wing Herut to the Communists, and including the religious groups, supported it and upheld the present system of multi-party proportional representation.

Advocates of direct elections gloomily predicted tonight that there was no possibility of electoral reform now until after next November’s elections.

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