If there is one problem that most Argentinians have heard about and dealt with in their everyday lives, that is stability. How many countries have had five different presidents in one week? We could still win all the discussions when it comes to that.
Coming here with my Latin American heritage and trying to make sense of the Israeli system it’s a challenging experience for me, though I felt relieved somehow when I found out that stability is also an issue for a considerable part of the voters. Now the question is how to achieve it, if that way actually exists and if it’s still one that can improve democracy. Interviewees who oppose populism as something that contributes to undermining our democratic systems mentioned the politicians who constantly create parties that are built around sole candidates with “followers” and shift between them as the main problem. Others might point to the voters’ choices as ones that imply a lack of an ideological base. Could it be that we are missing the right leaders? Or do we have them, but we fail to trust them?
While doing interviews for 60-60, we found different explanations for the situation we are currently going through, but taking apart the parties’ interpretations, there is something that we could also consider: the system’s faults. That is why we decided to talk, for our first episode, with a non-governmental organization that is actually promoting an alternative to supplement stability to the Israeli system without blaming any side of the political spectrum or a specific candidate for the five elections in a row that, undoubtedly, is not a sign of a healthy democracy.
“For four elections in a row, nothing has changed”
CECI is the Citizens’ Empowerment Center in Israel, a non-partisan NGO working with specialists and constantly surveying the Israeli civic society to understand the democratic challenges it is facing. The quote above might reflect a feeling that most of them have, explains Bar Gissin, the Director of Impact at CECI. We chose Bar and CECI for our first episode because we wanted a broader view of the problems and current discussions in the political arena before getting into any partial conception or solution.
Bar discussed with us some problems of our electoral system while proposing a reform that tackles what they see as its main faults. CECI’s initiative is designed to strengthen certainty, accountability, and stability for the elected Knesset.
Bar is a former Meretz activist. When I asked her about her personal choice, she was very clear: she would probably vote for Meretz, but that is not a given. “I suggest every voter make sure which are his/her values first; if it’s climate change, diversity, minorities rights or religion, whatever it is, and then check which candidates are talking about them in their campaigns”, she recommended. Bar is also the leader of the grassroots organization Israel 2050, where young Israelis work to strengthen the citizens’ influence on the democratic system. In the last survey conducted after the announcement of the November 1st elections, stability was the second issue that the people mentioned as the main problem in Israel, right after the cost of living. For 40% of them, the promise of making changes to the governmental system could impact the candidate they choose.
So now, I might have a new variable to consider in my choice for the next elections.