Bill suspending corrupt mayors clears major hurdle

Legislation passes first reading in Knesset after three mayors were indicted for corruption this year and then reelected.

December 3, 2013 01:38
1 minute read.
Bat Yam Mayor Lahiani

Bat Yam Mayor Lahiani. (photo credit: YONAH JEREMY BOB)

Mayors indicted on corruption charges will be suspended from office, according to a bill passed in its first reading by the Knesset on Monday.

“This bill reflects the balance between integrity, the public’s trust in local government and democratic direct elections of mayors,” Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar said.

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The Interior Ministry initiated the bill, which passed in its first reading with 33 in favor and two opposed, after three mayors were indicted for corruption this year and then reelected in October.

The High Court said that the mayors could run again, but that the legality of their terms is questionable.

This bill is meant to set a legal standard on the matter.

“The current reality requires a law that will balance the different values and create more certainty,” Sa’ar explained.

According to the proposal a special committee, appointed by the Interior Minister, would decide whether or not to suspend a mayor or Regional Council chairman.

This follows a request from the attorney general.

Several MKs called for the law to be amended so that indicted mayors will remain on city council, just as a minister who is indicted can remain a Knesset member.

Such a change could be made in the Knesset Interior Committee when the bill is being prepared for its second and third (final) readings.

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