Yuli Edelstein was expected to be chosen as Speaker of the 19th Knesset Thursday, replacing Reuven Rivlin, who was previously speaker of the 16th and 18th Knessets.
Rivlin dropped out of the race to become Knesset Speaker after reports surfaced that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did not support Rivlin for the position. Rivlin's spokesman denied reports of a conversation in which the prime minister told Rivlin that he would not back him. In fact, the spokesman said, Netanyahu’s chief of staff Gil Shefer promised him on Thursday that the prime minister wants Rivlin to be speaker.Edelstein has been talking to Likud Beytenu faction members to convince them to vote for him, and hopes to meet with all 31 of the joint list’s MKs before the coalition is formed and they vote for the next Speaker.
“He doesn’t want to disrespect Rivlin or start a big media campaign; it’s just a series of quiet meetings,” a source close to Edelstein explained.