NGO files petition to prevent Netanyahu from forming a government

Prior to the election the same NGO filed a similar petition to prevent Netanyahu from running for office, which was rejected by the High Court at the time.

The Movement for the Quality of Government in Israel protests outside of President Reuven Rivlin's residence on March 3, 2020 (photo credit: Courtesy)
The Movement for the Quality of Government in Israel protests outside of President Reuven Rivlin's residence on March 3, 2020
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Movement for the Quality of Government in Israel on Tuesday announced it is filing a petition with the High Court of Justice to block Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from forming a government.
Despite Netanyahu’s major electoral win on Monday, the petition says that a person who is under indictment and beginning a trial is unfit under the law to be given a mandate to form a government.

It also says that Netanyahu will be too busy attending his trial, which starts on March 17, to take care of the country's business.
Further, the NGO initiated a protest outside President Reuven Rivlin’s residence to apply political pressure on him to deny Netanyahu the mandate to form a new government.
Rivlin’s signals throughout the last year were that he would not disqualify Netanyahu simply because of the indictment.
Prior to the election, the same NGO filed a similar petition to prevent Netanyahu from running for office, but it was rejected by the High Court at the time.
Based on the court's ruling on that and similar petitions, it is expected that it will reject the current one as well, ruling that a prime minister can only be forced to resign if convicted and all appeals have been exhausted.
Prior to January, there was speculation that the High Court might block Netanyahu from running for reelection once Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit issued a final indictment against him on November 21.
On the basis of those two decades of judicial rulings forcing ministers to resign oncce they are indicted, around 70 hi-tech officials petitioned the High Court to fire Netanyahu pre-election or at least determine his status so that voters would know whether he could form the next government after the March 2 election.
The petitioners said that the question was about the right of the voters to know whether one of the two candidates for prime minister was eligible or not.
However, the court was persuaded by Mandelblit’s office that elections themselves are extremely uncertain and that the process of political parties recommending a candidate for prime minister was also uncertain.
In light of these uncertainties, and the strong possibility that Netanyahu may never be able to get 61 MKs to support him, the court said it should not step in prematurely to strike down his candidacy and needlessly anger significant portions of the country who support him.
“The election period is a politically sensitive time, so it is fitting to act with heavy restraint…this is in light of the most complex and sensitive period without historical precedent within which the State Israel currently finds itself,” wrote the court.
Technically, the court only ordered the petition withdrawn and did not reject it fully, leaving open the door to disqualifying Netanyahu post-election.
But in practical terms and from the tone of the ruling, the court has made it clear that it wants no part in forcing Netanyahu out of office any earlier than a point where the law demands this unambiguously, leaving the question of who leads the country to the voters.
According to the straight wording of the basic laws, a prime minister – unlike other ministers - can only be forced out of office once convicted and all appeals are exhausted.
Netanyahu’s full trial and appeals could easily run between one to three years.


Tags NGO