Thursday, April 06, 2006

Putting Together a Coalition (1977)

1977 Dry Bones cartoon - Begin Builds a Coalition
Our government is a real democracy.

It works like this; you vote for a party that represents your point of view. If your party wins 10% of the vote, then it gets 10% of the seats in the Knesset (our parliament).

Then the members of the new Knesset have to create a new "government". They vote to decide who the new ministers will be, and to choose the new Prime Minister. This requires them to get down to hard negotiating and creative mutual back-scratching. We the people get to watch how the guys for whom we voted do in these negotiations. The new government will remain subject to the will of the Knesset. If, at a future point the Knesset decides that it no longer has "confidence" in the new government it "falls." The goal is to put together a coalition based on common goals with enough of a majority to weather future votes of "no confidence".

Putting together a coalition of parties to form a new government is the first task of any Knesset member who plans to form a government and become the Prime Minister. It really is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. As seen in the above cartoon, outside pressures are often ignored as the political system concentrates on the crucial job at hand.

At the time of this writing, in 2006, the puzzle is just as complicated:
"In the elections of March 2006, Kadima received 28 seats, significantly fewer than predicted. Only once before in Israeli history has a smaller party formed a government - in 1999 - and it lasted only 18 months." - Arutz Sheva


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