Yesh Atid submits anti-corruption legislative package

"We will fight for this legislation, because it is the right thing to do if we want a civilized country, with equal opportunities."

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April 1, 2015 14:27
2 minute read.
Yair Lapid

Yair Lapid. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 
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A person convicted of a crime bearing moral turpitude should never be able to return to elected office, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid said Wednesday, submitting six anti-corruption bills.

“The legislative package we proposed today is the first step in the war against government corruption in Israel, which has become a strategic threat to Israeli society and democracy,” Lapid said. “It cannot be that, in the State of Israel, a person who was convicted of a crime with moral turpitude and went to jail could go back to the Knesset or be a minister in the government – not now, not in seven years, and not in 20 years.”

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“We will fight for this legislation, because it is the right thing to do if we want a civilized country with equal opportunities, and for its citizens to know there is a fair game in which the good of the public comes before the political, economic and personal interests of those who serve the public,” he added.

Lapid and his party have had contentious relations with haredi factions because of their positions on conscription to the IDF and other religion and state issues. However, on Tuesday, when Lapid announced Yesh Atid planned to submit anti-corruption legislation, he said the measures are nothing personal against Shas chairman Arye Deri, who served two years in prison of a three-year sentence for accepting a $150,000 bribe and is expected to be appointed interior minister in the government being formed.

One of the bills Yesh Atid submitted states that a prime minister, minister, deputy minister, MK or mayor convicted of a crime with moral turpitude cannot run in national or local elections or serve in any of the aforementioned positions.

Another bill states that if a prime minister, minister, deputy minister, MK or mayor exercises his or her right to remain silent during an investigation, he or she would automatically be considered as having resigned from his or her position.

Yesh Atid also proposed a legal definition for “breach of trust,” because the party said the current one is too vague and allows politicians to commit crimes. The new bill “sets moral borders for public officials’ everyday activity,” the party said.



The party also submitted legislation meant to give more power to internal auditors and legal advisers in government ministries and other public institutions, in order to help the effort to ensure good governance. The bill would also help the institutions prevent acts of corruption before they happen.

The proposed Basic Law: Civil Service defines the rules for government employees and states that the executive branch of government is the public’s trustee and its employees must work for the good of the public and its interests.

It also requires tenders granting equal hiring opportunities.

The final bill would increase supervision of commercial lobbyists, as opposed to those working for nonprofit organizations.

Yesh Atid stated that commercial lobbying “gives the wealthy direct access to decision makers and allows a concentration of great influence in the hands of a small group of people.” The legislation would apply to the Knesset and to government ministries and would require lobbyists to disclose more about their clients’ goals.

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