High Court rejects Yesh Atid's petition to halt expansion of government

The decision could put a stake in the heart of Yesh Atid's attempt to salvage one of the major reforms it pushed through the last Knesset in limiting the number of ministers.

May 11, 2015 10:10
2 minute read.
JPost Election Arena: Yair Lapid

JPost Election Arena: Yair Lapid. (photo credit: screenshot)


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The High Court of Justice on Monday rejected Yesh Atid’s petition to block the new government’s intention to postpone implementation of an amendment – to Basic Law: The Government – that would limit the number of ministers to 18.

The government would now seem to be able to postpone the implementation of the amendment – which is set to take effect – by Knesset vote.

Though technically the decision was an interim decision and the High Court could still strike down changes to the law in its final decision, the short and rapidly decided decision by Justice Daphne Barak-Erez implies that she sees little possibility of the court intervening in a clearly legislative matter.

The decision could put a stake in the heart of Yesh Atid’s attempt to salvage one of the major reforms it pushed through the last Knesset in limiting the number of ministers.

It also appears to adopt the state’s opinion that regardless of the background and motivations, how many ministers a given government should have is more of a Knesset decision than a court decision.

Ofer Shelah, on behalf of Yesh Atid, responded to the rejection, saying the party is not yet discouraged since the court has not issued a final ruling and based its interim rejection on the petition having been filed before the Knesset took action on the issue.

Shelah said the petition would have a better chance with the court once the Knesset had taken action.

The party’s leader, Yair Lapid, had called the government’s decision to increase the size of the next cabinet shameful.

“It was a decision to take money that was due for welfare, healthcare and education and waste it on political jobs,” Lapid said. “This isn’t a few million shekels – I can’t be sold that.

I served as finance minister, and I know the numbers. Every unnecessary minister creates hundreds of millions of shekels of activity around themselves.

It’s easy to check in the previous budgets.”

In contrast, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein praised “the High Court’s decision not to intervene.”

Edelstein added that he would not allow a superficial “fasttrack legislation” on the issue, “which degrades the Knesset, without an appropriate debate in which all positions are heard.”

The Knesset speaker’s point is that the fate of the issue should be decided by the Knesset and not the court.

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