Or Tuttnauer
Government–opposition relations in a fragmented, personalized, and multidimensional setting: The case of Israel

Party Politics, 2020: 26, issue 2, pp. 203-214
ISSN: 1354-0688 (print), 1460-3683 (online)

Patterns of legislative activity in parliamentary regimes have long been defined by political parties and the division between government and opposition. However, several trends in recent years may challenge this distinction by mitigating the electoral connection between parliamentary behavior and electoral competition. Issue multidimensionality, party system fragmentation, and political behavioral personalization, while common to most established democracies, have been extremely pronounced in Israel. Analyzing all legislation votes taken in the Knesset between 2003 and 2014, this article uses the Israeli case to demonstrate how a fragmented opposition and the prevalence of highly personalized, nonpartisan private-member legislation, result in deviation from the familiar government–opposition divide and diminish opposition parties’ vote-seeking behavior in parliamentary votes. As an extreme case of trends that are gaining ground in most established democracies, this case study contributes to the understanding of the effects of general changes to the political system on legislative behavior.