Election Resources on the Internet:
Elections to the Israeli Knesset, Parts I and II
by Manuel Álvarez-Rivera

The State of Israel held an early general election on Tuesday, March 17, 2015. An overview of the proportional representation system used to choose members of the Jewish state's unicameral Parliament - the Knesset - is presented here; Israel's party system will be reviewed in Part III of this presentation.

Nationwide results are available here for the following Knesset elections:

      March 17, 2015      
      January 22, 2013      
      February 10, 2009      
      March 28, 2006      
      January 28, 2003      
      May 17, 1999      
      May 29, 1996      
      June 23, 1992      
      November 1st, 1988      
      July 23, 1984      
      June 30, 1981      

The election statistics presented in this space come from reports and data files published by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, the Knesset and the Central Elections Committee, which has 2015 election results in Hebrew, Arabic and English.


General Aspects of the Electoral System

The parliament of the State of Israel, the Knesset, is composed of 120 members directly elected by universal adult suffrage for a four-year term of office. Knesset seats are filled by proportional representation (PR) in a single, countrywide electoral constituency. Political parties or alignments of two or more parties submit lists of candidates, and may form surplus vote agreements, that is combine their lists for the distribution of Knesset seats. The lists are closed, so voters may not choose individual candidates in or alter the order of such lists. Voters cast a ballot for a single list.

Knesset seats are distributed on a nationwide basis among party lists that pass a qualifying threshold, originally equal to one percent of the vote, and subsequently raised to 1.5% (in 1992), two percent (in 2006) and 3.25% (in 2014). The number of votes won by each qualifying list is divided by an electoral quota, calculated by dividing the total number of votes cast for qualifying lists by 120 (the number of Knesset seats), and the result of this division, disregarding fractions, is the initial number of seats obtained by each list. Any seats that remain unallocated after the application of the electoral quota are distributed among lists or combination of lists according to the largest average method, known in Israel as the Bader-Ofer method, and internationally as the D'Hondt rule; seats won by combinations of lists are apportioned among constituent lists by the Bader-Ofer method as well.

Online Resources


Copyright © 2009-2015 Manuel Álvarez-Rivera. All Rights Reserved.
Last update: April 19, 2015.