Thursday, September 27, 2007

I now support First-Past-the-Post...

...for Israel.

After hearing former Liberal MP, Sheila Copps, complain on TVO's The Agenda about all the different political parties that exist in Israel (many of them could be considered extremist), I realize that the solution for Israel is for its Knesset (parliament) to change the way Israelis vote from country-wide proportional representation to First-Past-the-Post.

Israel could be divided into 120 electoral districts. We can get into a discussion about where the boundary lines would be drawn. I'm guessing that the good Israelis living north, south, east, and west of Jerusalem would want their fair share of representation. The inhabitants of Tel Aviv would want a fair share of seats. So too would those living in Jerusalem, the eternal and undivided capital of the great State of Israel. All inhabitants (Jews and Arabs) living within Jerusalem would need to have representation; only Israelis would still be able to vote. The settlers will want their "fair" share of seats in Judea and Samaria. Who ever heard of a place called "The West Bank?"

After the electoral districts are drawn. One party could win a majority of the seats. It could be a right-wing religious party or a left-wing secular party. Anyway, there would be one party running the government.

The Arab extremists living within greater Israel and living next to the Med, Red, and Dead Seas are getting mad. They want their own sovereign state. Get this. They want to call it "Palestine." You gotta be kidding! No problemo. A one-party Israeli government presumably with 35% of the popular vote but with a majority of the seats would be able to deal with those extremists by sending in the army to crush any dissent. Except who among the other 65% would support the one-party Israeli government? If the government consisted only of right-wing religious Israelis, would that government be able to get non-right-wing but secular Israelis to participate in the military to deal with Arab extremists? Would a left-wing secular government be able to get right-wing Israelis to participate in the military?

While the Izzy-Dizzy-Israelis would be fighting among themselves if they had a First-Past-the-Post Knesset, the mostly Izzy-Islamo-Palestinians would be happy to form a parliament of national unity within the lands next to the Med, Red, and Dead Seas. This new place could be called Palestine.


Jack said...

There's a big difference between the form of PR you guys are lucky to be able to vote on and the kind they use in Israel.

Israel's a considerably more divided society than Ontario, and its PR system is signficantly more 'permissive,' if you will.

There's no reason to think, moreover, that switching to FPP in Israel would foster party aggregation to the extent you mention. Italy made a switch to 75% FPP for a brief time, and the coalition ugliness didn't stop. Fragmented societies are fragmented societies.

Anyway, stop by TDP and say hi.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

I support MMP for Israel, actually. But you're right, they definitely need a change in system as much as we do.

James Gilmour said...

The change that Israel needs is to STV-PR. That would give the voters control over the parties and let the voters decide locally which candidates would be elected.

STV-PR MIGHT encourage party cohesion, but if it did nothing else, at least it would not provide any good reason for party fragmentation (unlike closed-list party-list PR).

Skinny Dipper said...

From what I understand about Israel, I'll agree with Jack that it is a highly fragmented society of liberal and conservative Jews, secular and religious, Middle Eastern and European, and with Israeli Arabs. Or is that Arab Israelis?

Had Israel had the First-Past-the-Post voting system in 1948, I doubt that Israel would still exist today because under FPTP, different Israelis would not have had representation in the Knesset and would not have accepted the legitimacy of the Israeli parliament and its decisions.

If we hop over to Italy, that country is very regional even though it doesn't look that way on a map or on television from an English Canadian perspective.

Ontario does have diverse regional and ethnic communities. However, there seems to be a middle-of-the-road limited band of diversity as one could live almost anywhere in Ontario and share similar values with the neighbours.

Ontario's current First-Past-the-Post voting system distorts the political divisions in the province by making us assume that there are practically no Conservative supporters in Toronto or Northern Ontario, and no Green Party supporters anywhere when in fact many people support both the Conservatives and Greens everywhere.

First-Past-the-Post does not prevent extremist parties. Depending on one's idelogy, one could have considered either or both the Harris Tories and Rae's NDP governments to be extremists.

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