Coalition agrees to pass ‘Gideon Sa’ar bill’

“There is a lacuna in the law that must be fixed; it’s clear,” Netanyahu said at a meeting of Likud ministers on Sunday.

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December 9, 2018 16:19
1 minute read.
Gideon Saar

Gideon Saar. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Coalition party leaders agreed to push a slimmed-down version of the “Gideon Sa’ar bill” through a preliminary vote, after months of deliberation.

The bill, proposed at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s behest, states only that the president will be required to appoint a party leader as prime minister.

Currently, the law allows the president to choose any MK.

“There is a lacuna in the law that must be fixed; it’s clear,” Netanyahu said at a meeting of Likud ministers on Sunday. “I saw a report that the president intends to have whomever gets the most recommendations form the government. I welcome that, and in any case clarify that the Likud does not condition passing the amendment to the law on any other law.”

Netanyahu’s comment addressed an accusation made by Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman last month that the coalition refuses to support his party’s bill to make it easier for military courts to sentence terrorists to death because it will not vote in favor of the Sa’ar bill, which Liberman called “totally personal.”

Coalition chairman David Amsalem confirmed that there are three coalition bills he asked Liberman to support, including the Sa’ar bill, in exchange for backing two of Yisrael Beytenu’s bills.

Earlier this year, Netanyahu accused Sa’ar, a former senior Likud minister, of conspiring with President Reuven Rivlin to be appointed the next prime minister if Netanyahu is indicted on corruption charges. Sa’ar and Rivlin denied doing so.

Netanyahu did not repeat the accusation in Sunday’s statement.

An earlier version of the Sa’ar bill said the president would have to choose the party leader that received the most recommendations from MKs to be prime minister, which is what presidents have done after every election since the establishment of the state. This was removed in light of opposition from Kulanu and Bayit Yehudi.

The shorter version of the bill is expected to go to a preliminary vote on Wednesday, and return to coalition leaders for further discussion.

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