Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin tried unsuccessfully on Tuesday to persuade Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to lower the number of MKs necessary for a special
Knesset session during the parliament’s long summer recess.
signatures of 25 MKs are needed for a special session during a Knesset recess.
The current opposition has 26 MKs, including 22 from leftist parties and four
from the far-right National Union, making a special session during the July 25
to October 15 recess unlikely.
Leftist parties wanted to lower the number
of MKs required to only 20 so they could force the Knesset to convene whenever
they wanted. Rivlin supported their request but Netanyahu and coalition chairman
Ze’ev Elkin did not agree.
“We have seen in politics that the wheel turns
and ruling parties find themselves in a small, divided opposition,” Rivlin said.
“The law should set clear rules for situations where coalitions are large so the
opposition can continue to fill its role.”
Netanyahu also did not agree
to lower the 40 MKs required to force him to address the Knesset when it is in
session. He instead promised to speak to the parliament once within the next
month before the summer recess and twice during the Knesset’s five-month winter
session. Under normal circumstances, the opposition summons the prime minister
once a month.
The opposition’s request to head the powerful Knesset
Economics Committee was also rejected. But Netanyahu and Elkin did agree to give
the opposition a committee of lesser importance and to add a member of the
opposition to the Central Elections Committee.