(photo credit: FREED PHOTOGRAPHY)
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon is hoping to pass a budget for 2019 during the Knesset’s upcoming winter session, an advance initiative that would allow the current government to stay together for a full term – until November 5, 2019 – his office confirmed Sunday.
Last December, the government uncharacteristically passed a two-year budget for 2017-2018; passing a budget for 2019 would completely eliminate what is traditionally a major point of contention between coalition partners.
The Knesset’s winter session, when he hopes to bring the 2019 budget to a first vote, begins October 23, and continues until shortly before Passover.
Kahlon’s office said he floated the idea, first reported by Channel 2, to other members of the coalition months ago, and has faced no resistance.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told journalists on his visit to South America last month that he is not interested in an early election, saying he knows better than to risk losing the two more years he has remaining in this term.
Other advantages that postponing an election could have for Netanyahu is that new Labor leader Avi Gabbay will lose his initial luster, and, in fact, could begin to look like a lackluster layman as he continues to operate outside the Knesset, of which he is not yet a member.
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid currently has good poll numbers, which could also drop – or rise – by 2019.
On the other hand, there is also no way to know where the investigations of Netanyahu’s alleged corruption will be by then.
An indictment would almost certainly hurt the prime minister in the polls.
For Kahlon, waiting as long as possible for an election would give his economic reforms a better chance of having a positive impact before voters go to the ballots.