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Minor changes to the text, including new analysis of the 2019-2020 national elections.

Updated on 8 October 2020. The previous version of this content can be found here.
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date: 25 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

The electoral system of Israel is an “extreme” example of proportional representation because of its use of a single nationwide district. This feature has been a constant since 1949, while secondary features, such as legal thresholds and the proportional seat-allocation formula, have changed and had an impact on degrees of proportionality. The party system is highly fragmented, as expected in extreme proportional systems. By applying the Seat Product Model to indices of election outcomes, it is possible to determine whether Israel’s system is more or less fragmented and proportional than expected for its institutional design. This chapter reports that the long-term average outputs are about as expected, but they have fluctuated over time. Some of these fluctuations reflect changes in the secondary features of the system, while others are the results of political factors independent of the institutions.

Keywords: electoral system, proportionality, Seat Product Model, Effective Number of Parties, threshold, Knesset

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