Repealing Law to Dissolve the Knesset: Motivated by Personal Interests
The proposal promotes personal and political interests, strikes a severe blow to the public’s trust in democracy and to elected officials’ obligation to act with integrity
An opinion submitted today (June 26th) to MKs, the Attorney General, and the Knesset Legal Advisor on behalf of the Israel Democracy Institute, opposes the proposal to repeal the law to dissolve the Knesset and seeks to take the proposal off the agenda. Prof. Yuval Shany, Dr. Amir Fuchs, Dr. Guy Lurie and Dr. Ofer Kenig, of the Israel Democracy Institute note that "the parties wishing to advance this proposal, relate to democracy and the Basic Laws as tools for advancing personal and political interests; its adoption will seriously harm the public's trust in its elected officials and the duty of its elected officials to act with integrity."
The opinion states that not only does this proposal lack legal feasibility, but that it is part of a flawed political culture that breeds the adoption of initiatives that are disrespectful of the rules of the democratic game and the institutions of government, and are characterized by frequent changes in the Basic Laws to promote narrow interests.
In this context, we can cite proposals to eliminate the office of the President, to change the electoral threshold because it is inconvenient for the current majority, amend the Basic Law: The Government, eliminate the President’s discretionary powers—and now—to “un-dissolve” the Knesset.
Such a precedent will propel the entire political system into perpetual uncertainty and allow the political majority - which in any case enjoys a clear advantage in the elections - to cancel the early elections, if election surveys predict disaster for their parties in the impending elections. Such a situation flies in the face of fundamental principles of healthy democracy, that ensures at least a possibility of governments that can be replaced in free elections, and in fact would bring us closer to the undesirable reality in which the terms of a sitting administration could be perpetuated indefinitely.
In conclusion, IDI notes that such changes in the rules of the game would deal a severe blow to the public's trust in the democratic system, and send an implicit message to Israel’s citizens that fraudulent and deceptive actions for the personal benefit of elected officials are acceptable, and fall within the category of normative behavior.