Cabinet standing up Knesset 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
After a stormy, seven-hour marathon session, the Knesset’s Law and Constitution
Committee voted Monday to approve a toned-down version of Yisrael Beytenu and
Yesh Atid’s electoral reform legislation.
The coalition intends to bring
the bill to a vote in the Knesset plenum once Wednesday night and twice next
week to pass it into law before the Knesset’s extended summer recess, as Yisrael
Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman has demanded.
The bill would limit the
number of ministers not including the prime minister to 18, none of whom could
hold more or less than one portfolio. There would be only four deputy
The legislation would limit the opposition to submitting
no-confidence motions once a month instead of every week.
minister would be required to sit through the deliberations on the no-confidence
The only way the opposition could submit a no-confidence motion
without waiting a month would be to draft the support of the majority of the
Knesset’s 120 MKs. If a no-confidence motion passes, the alternative candidate
proposed for prime minister would have three weeks to form a new coalition or
the current government would remain in place.
The electoral reform
package does not include raising the electoral threshold from two percent to
four percent. Yesh Atid and Yisrael Beytenu agreed on the raise, but other
parties in the coalition asked that it be delayed to further
Committee chairman David Rotem (Yisrael Beytenu), who
drafted the bill, conceded to Yesh Atid’s demand to erase a clause giving the
prime minister the power to disperse the Knesset without the approval of the
Ahead of the passage in Rotem’s committee, he fought bitterly
with Labor legislators and Hadash MK Dov Henin.
The opposition MKs
filibustered and attempted to prevent Rotem from bringing the bill to a
“Liberman has taken brutal steps to force the electoral reforms on
the coalition and the Knesset,” Labor faction chairman Isaac Herzog
“We will continue to fight this bill. We will not let Liberman
trample over us.”