Edelstein to return as Knesset Speaker

Netanyahu, heads of most parties, support continuation of Edelstein's term in speaker office.

March 24, 2015 16:24
1 minute read.
Yuli Edelstein

Yuli Edelstein. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


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Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein will return to his position in the 20th Knesset, and may not even have to leave the post while the new coalition government is being formed.

Senior Likud sources confirmed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supports the speaker keeping his job, and that they are aiming for a confirmation on Tuesday, when the new Knesset is sworn in.

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Normally, the veteran MK – in this case, the Zionist Union’s Amir Peretz – would serve as interim Knesset speaker until the coalition decides who will permanently hold the position – not for a specific amount of time. In this case, there are no objections from the potential partners to Edelstein's appointment.

In fact, Likud sources said Netanyahu and the heads of most parties in the new Knesset, including those who are expected to be in the opposition, support him returning to the role and they should have well over 61 votes for confirmation.

Furthermore, there is a precedent for doing so in Kadish Luz, speaker of the fourth, fifth and sixth Knessets, who served two terms in a row without an interim speaker in between.

The planned procedure is for the Likud faction to vote for Edelstein as its candidate for speaker an hour before next Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony, and then for Peretz, who will be interim speaker only for that meeting, to preside over the vote to confirm Edelstein’s nomination.

“It’s a matter of government continuity,” a Likud source explained. “[Coalition talks] could take a few days, but they could also take weeks, and there’s no reason for Peretz to run the Yom Ha’atzma’ut and Yom Hazikaron ceremonies when we know who the speaker will be.”

Edelstein won't be able to become Knesset Speaker from day one without a fight, though.

Peretz told Edelstein that he plans to act according to Knesset regulations and traditions, and that any deviation must be coordinated between them.

On Wednesday, Edelstein expressed shock that the press made the story seem like a personal rivalry between him and Peretz.

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