Head of IDI's Political Reform project responds to reports that Prime Minister Netanyahu is planning to promote legislation that would automatically give the head of the largest Knesset party the right to form the government.
On May 15, 2014, it was reported that Prime Minister Netanyahu is planning to promote legislation that would give the head of the largest Knesset party that emerges from the elections the automatic right to form the government. Under the current law, the President of Israel assigns this task to the party leader that he or she believes has the best chance to succeed in forming a coalition; the proposed legislation would circumvent the discretion of the President. According to the media, Netanyahu's move is motivated by his concern about who Presidential hopeful MK Reuven Rivlin would choose to form the next government should Rivlin become president of Israel following the elections in June.
IDI Senior Fellow Prof. Gideon Rahat, head of IDI's Political Reform project, responded to this initiative as follows: "Giving the head of the largest party the 'first right' to form the government immediately following the Knesset elections would be a welcome development, since it will encourage parties to band together before the elections and will thus present the Israeli public with clearer picture of the alternatives for the government. However, if the media is correct, and the motivation behind this initiative is personal, that is not an appropriate motivation for constitutional change.