May 19, 2016

Electoral system to blame for coalition maneuvering

So many people are upset and disturbed about the impending deal to get Yisrael Beyteynu to join the government coalition with the offer of the Defense Ministry for Avigdo Lieberman.

From one perspective, the views he has regularly espoused in the past has people worried about what he might do, but also even before he does anything, the further isolation his appointment will cause as the Western world is repulsed by him and his statements. Let us not forget - when Lieberman was Foreign Minister he was basically banned form Western countries and spent most of his efforts in Eastern European countries, while Netanyahu dealt with the Western countries.

From a second perspective, the way he has spoken about Netanyahu over the past year and a half, at least, and his repeated refusals to even consider joining the coalition, makes it surprising that he was offered this now and that he is accepting.

From a third perspective, thi sis what he initially demanded to join the government after the previous elections. Netanyahu refused to give it to him back then, so why now?

Personally I think Lieberman's bark is worse than his bite. He thinks he is a tough guy like Putin who can roll tanks over anyone he does not like and get away with it, but what has Lieberman ever done to deserve that comparison. All he does is talk big. it is easy to talk when the keys to the tank are not in your hands. I suspect he might try something, somewhat minor, pretty early on, but will get handcuffed and reprimanded by Netanyahu and others, and that will put an end to that.

What does bother me about this is what it shows about the political system and, again, the need for reforming the electoral system. Whether Netanyahu did this out of desperation to save a failing coalition or out of strategic maneuvering for the future or out of sheer responsibility to the country, this is a symptom of a bad system. He could only do this because of the bad electoral and parliamentary system we function in. And until the politicians change the system, these types of maneuvers will continue to happen. Netanyahu is not the first to lay with strange bedfellows in order to stabilize a coalition, and he won't be the last - unless the politicians change the system.

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  1. Why would the politicians change the system, when this very system gives the leaders of the parties unprecedented power?

  2. Bad system? Got to strongly disagree. This is how parliamentary systems work. As you say, the bark is bigger than the bite, and FWIW, just because someone is grandstanding does not mean it is some ideology to stand by.


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