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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Another Nail in the Kadima and Labor Coffins

The Israeli political system is very different from the American one.  Because of the district voting, there are only two realistic political parties in the United States of America, and they're both pretty general, Center leaning either Left or Right for a minimal choice.  Once someone is elected President, he generally veers more Center. 

Many voters feel they have nobody to vote for if ideology is important to them.  Third party voters have no parliamentary representation, because the numbers just don't add up.  Only the winner per district gets in.  Great Britain has a weak and dying third party that is totally under-represented compared to the national votes it gets.

In Israel, you don't vote for a Prime Minister.  You vote for ideology, a political party, and the seats in Knesset are allocated in proportion to the votes.  The law was amended a couple of decades ago to prevent one-person parties.  The minimum votes to get a Knesset seat are enough for three.  The party that can pull together a ruling coalition chooses the Prime Minister.

Some Israeli political parties have long complex history and name changes, while others are very new.  And of course, some have totally left the scene are are just postscripts in history.  Israeli Center and Center-Left parties haven't lasted very long.  There are always new parties, usually led by newbie politicians clamoring to take over as secular messiahs.

The latest of these would-be leaders is Yair (son of Tommy) Lapid.
Yair Lapid intends to register a new party in hopes of attracting more voters.
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Photo credit: Miriam Alster

Yair Lapid intends to register a new party in hopes of attracting more voters.
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Photo credit: Miriam Alster

Both Labor and Kadima would have had been overjoyed to have benefited from his media savvy and charisma.  They're all campaigning for the same voters.  Instead, unless someone gives him an offer he can't refuse, he'll be joining the competition against them both.  That's fine with me.

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