Oct 24, 2006

open or closed

The Presidential elections. No, not the ones Avigdor Lieberman is trying to change the political system to. I am referring to the elections for the new President of Israel that will seemingly be taking place in the near future.

President Moshe Katsav is on the brink of suspending himself and possibly resigning his position. It looks like he will be served with an indictment in the near future and will have to resign. If he does not, he likely will be forcibly removed by a special session of the Knesset. Thsi will bring us to new presidential elections in the very near future.

I am in favor of changing the system. I would like to see presidential elections in which the public elects the prez, rather than the Knesset electing him. I would like to see politicians disqualified from the position (as long as the whole political system is not changed and stays in its current format with the prez being an apolitical position).

There have been calls recently, because elections are clearly coming, to change the format of the elections to an open ballot election. That means that when the voting takes place, everybosy has the ability to see who voted for whom.

When Moshe Katsav defeated Shimon Peres for the presidency in the last elections 7 years ago, they used a closed ballot system. Shimon Peres had assumed he would win because of promises people made to him to vote in his favor but was then surprised with defeat when the secret ballots were counted. People actually voted for the candidate they preferred rather the one they were pressured into supporting. Now the supporters of changing to open ballot are saying, "Look what the closed ballot system got us".

I am sorry, but the closed ballot system had nothing to do with whether or not Moshe Katsav raped his employees.

The closed ballot system allows people to vote according to who and what they really want to see sitting in the chair of the President, rather than according to all sorts of pressures exerted on him. Those pressures could be party affiliation, they could be personal (e.g. a candidate pulling favors), they could be emotional (e.g. someone feels bad saying no to Shimon Peres). In a closed ballto system, people could say what they want before the election and then vote for whomever they really prefer.

That si the way ti should be. Voting should not be influenced. The pre-election campaigning is enough opportunity to influence the voter. No need to actually watch the vote and then make people not vote for their preferred candidate.

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