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How is the Knesset formed?


The Knesset, Israel's parliament, is composed of 120 members.

Any Israeli citizen over 21 can be elected to the Knesset, except for certain individuals such as military, or those convicted outlaws with sentences over three months.

Here is a breakdown of the Knesset formation process:

  • Elections: Every four years, Israeli citizens ages 18 and older can participate in the Knesset elections. The Knesset is formed based on the election results.

  • Party lists: Political parties participate in the election and create party lists, which are ordered lists of candidates. Voters vote for a party rather than individual candidates. Israel does not have electoral districts, so the whole country is considered one electoral district.

  • Allocation of seats: The total number of votes each party receives determines the number of seats it receives in the Knesset. The allocation of seats is based on a complex formula that considers the total number of votes cast and the number of seats available.

  • Threshold: To be represented in the Knesset, a party must receive at least 3.25% of the total votes cast in the election.

  • Formation of a government: Once the election results are announced, the party with the most seats is given the opportunity to form a government. The leader of the winning party must then negotiate with other parties to form a coalition government that has the support of at least 61 members of the Knesset.

  • Swearing-in: Once a government has been formed, the newly elected members of the Knesset are sworn in and the newly formed government begins its term in office.

Following an election, the Israeli President selects a Knesset member who they believe has the most promising chance of creating a viable government. This person then has 42 days to negotiate with other parties to form a government that secures at least 61 seats in the Knesset. If the government is successfully formed, it must be approved by at least 61 members of the Knesset. The individual who established the government becomes Prime Minister.

If the government fails to vote, or the individual cannot form a government, new elections are scheduled within 90 days.

In certain cases, the President may also give a second person the opportunity to form a government if the first person is unsuccessful. The second person has only 28 days to form a government. If they are unable to do so, the mandate is sent back to the President. He will then ask the Knesset to find an alternative candidate for Prime Minister. If no alternative candidate can be found, new elections are automatically called.

Overall, the Israeli Knesset is formed through a combination of democratic elections and political negotiations, and the process can be complex and often involves coalitions between parties.




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