Report: Bill allowing only party leader to form gov't to be raised in Knesset on Sunday

The report said that Netanyahu had obtained the support of his coalition partners for a bill that would prevent the president from asking an MK who is not a party leader to form a government.

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November 4, 2018 21:11
2 minute read.
Report: Bill allowing only party leader to form gov't to be raised in Knesset on Sunday

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin during an event marking the Altalena Affair, May 30, 2018. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not initiate a new election for the Knesset until a law is passed limiting the power of the president, Likud sources said Sunday, confirming a report on Channel 2.

The bill will raised in Knesset on Sunday, Walla! news reported on Monday.

The report said that Netanyahu had obtained the support of his coalition partners for a bill that would prevent the president from asking an MK who is not a party leader to form a government. The bill is intended to prevent a hypothetical scenario in which President Reuven Rivlin would bypass Netanyahu following an indictment of the prime minister and instead ask former minister Gideon Sa’ar to form the next government.

Such a bill would change a current Basic Law, making it relatively difficult and time consuming to legislate, even if all the coalition partners support the change. In the past, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon has opposed personal legislation relating to one person, but the report said Kahlon sees this bill as fixing a legislative loophole and it is therefore acceptable.

Two weeks ago, Netanyahu said he is concerned that after the election, Rivlin would ask a different Likud MK to form the government. Without mentioning Sa’ar by name, Netanyahu said a former minister in the Likud had been speaking to officials in the coalition about a move for the minister to form the next government.

“The prime minister has decided to accuse me of a false slander,” Sa’ar responded on Army Radio. “I am sorry the prime minister chose this path. It is not good for the Likud. It harms the party. It puts poison in its veins. I call on the prime minister to provide proof for the public or take it back.”

There had been speculation that Netanyahu would initiate an early election in February immediately after next Tuesday’s municipal run-off races. He told his coalition partners on Sunday that he had no idea when the next election would take place.
Netanyahu is expected to announce as early as Monday which candidate he will endorse for Jerusalem mayor in a run-off race between city councilmen Moshe Lion and Ofer Berkovitch.

Lion received a boost Sunday from a report that Shas and part of the Agudat Yisrael had made a new political deal. According to the deal, Agudat Yisrael would back Lion for mayor of Jerusalem in return for Shas supporting Agudat Yisrael’s candidate for mayor of Safed, Nachman Gelbach, in his race against Likud candidate Shuki Ohana.

Agudat Yisrael’s Council of Torah Sages will choose between endorsing Lion and asking their hassidic followers to sit out the race, which could possibly result in Berkovitch’s victory.


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