Keeping Parties Together? The Evolution of Israel’s Anti-Defection Law
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In 1991, the Knesset passed a package of legislation with the aim of preventing the rampant party switching and defections by elected representatives. At the time of its adoption, the so-called anti-defection law was supported by an all-party consensus. Although the legislation has remained in effect, its apparent continuity conceals the way in which it has become transformed from what was at first an “efficient” institution to a “redistributive” one (Tsebelis 1990). In this paper, I review the development of the Israeli anti-defection law and argue that whereas at the initial moment of its adoption the anti-defection law was considered to benefit all parties in the system, over time it has become an instrument in the hands of the governing coalition to manipulate divisions and engineer further defections among the opposition in order to shore up its often fragile legislative base.
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