Israel's dismissed Finance Minister Yair Lapid arrives at the Knesset.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Yair Lapid, the head of the Yesh Atid party, blasted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to expand the government to 20 ministers, up from 18 ministers that served in the previous administration.
Appearing at a town hall meeting in Tel Aviv on Saturday, the former finance minister, whose dismissal by Netanyahu triggered the downfall of the previous government and early elections, said that the premier’s plans to change the law - one of Yesh Atid’s signature achievements - amounted to “political corruption.”
“He is doing this while cheating the public,” Lapid said. “The government said that there is no budgetary consequence for Sunday’s decision on expanding the government. I was finance minister. I know how much this costs. This isn’t just a few million shekels like they are trying to spin to the public. This is hundreds of millions of shekels.”
The secularist-centrist Yesh Atid announced on Friday that it will ask the High Court to block Netanyahu’s plan to expand the number of government ministers in his new cabinet.
In a preliminary letter addressed to the attorney-general and the speaker of the Knesset, the party wrote: “The truth needs to be said and heard - the prime minister is exploiting the fact that the head of the legislative branch is a member of his party. Otherwise, he would not dare make such harmful and vital changes to the Basic Law by way of an edict passed by a transitional government if he thought he could do so in the proper way.”
On Friday, the ruling Likud party released a statement saying that Netanyahu’s fourth administration will number 20 cabinet ministers, an increase from 18 in his previous term.
The faction said that the Knesset will vote on expanding the cabinet on Monday. Following the vote, Netanyahu will “begin the process of distributing portfolios and other positions in the government and the Knesset to members of the Likud faction.”
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