Yesterday I voted in the Likud primaries and I have to say it is a big joke. There is nothing remotely democratic about it.
The way the system works is that every voter has to pick a list of candidates that they want to serve in the Knesset. In the Likud voting yesterday every voter had to pick 12 national candidates. There are a number of glaring problems with the system:
1. There is no ranking. Everyone you pick is equal. Imagine you have a few candidates you think are really worthy so you vote for them. Now you have to vote for another bunch of candidates just so your ballot is valid. In other words, your vote for some Joe Shmo as your 12th pick who you know nothing about counts as much as your number 1 pick. Just to be clear, you HAD to vote for 12 candidates for your vote to be registered.
2. You end up voting for people that you never heard of and know nothing about. What ends up happening is that every serious candidate makes up lists of recommended people and that is who people vote for even though you have no idea who half the people are.
3. There are all kinds of deals and revenge lists. Every serious candidate has workers at every polling station giving out their recommended list of who to vote for. Every person that I saw at the polls (including myself) had a printed list with 12 numbers (the people to vote for). The system lends itself to gross manipulation by organized groups.
This is not just a problem with the Likud. All of the parties with primaries (which is not too many) have basically the same system because they all need to pick a list of people for the Knesset..
It is clear that the only solution is a district based system where every MK is elected from a district and then you can have district based primaries.
I have a few posts about election reform from a few years ago, unfortunately there has been a lot of talk but no action.
The electoral system in Israel is broken ...
Election reform in Israel