Prime Minister Ariel Sharon intends to look into the introduction of presidential rule or another system of government that would reduce the power of political parties, Israel’s leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Sunday.
Sharon’s new party, Kadima, is expected to explicitly commit itself to changing Israel’s system of government in its platform, scheduled to be published this week.
After quitting the ruling Likud party, Sharon declared his new faction would push for a new form of government, but declined to provide specific details. However, a senior associate of the PM told Yedioth Ahronoth Sharon will be examining the possibility of introducing presidential rule in Israel.
Another Sharon associate said a new system of government is needed because the public has had enough of the current system, where the PM had trouble doing his job because of obstacles put in his way by the Likud Central Committee and Likud faction members.
“The public is thirsty for a new system,” the source said. “But because a direct vote for prime minister, the way it was tried in Israel, has failed, a presidential system or something close to it should be examined.”
Notably, in the late 90s Israel introduced a new political arrangement where citizens chose the prime minister separately from their favorite party. The two-ballot system was replaced soon after amid much criticism. Today, Israelis cast only one ballot, for their favorite party. The leader of the party that wins the most Knesset seats is then invited to form the government.
Sharon won’t enjoy change
A new committee that would look into changing the current system is expected to be set up soon and will examine several alternatives. The committee will apparently be headed by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni.
Sharon is interested in a new system that would allow the government to work under a different type of supervision, where Knesset members will be obligated to the public and not to Central Committee members.
However, the PM would not be able to enjoy the new system himself. The new form of governmet, if it is put into effect, would only be introduced in the next election campaign. But that time, Sharon is expected to retire from political life.
Meanwhile, Kadima, the PM’s new party, said the faction’s platform would indeed include a pledge to change the system of government but would not recommend one type of government or another.
Tova Tzimuki contributed to the story