Vote on dissolving Knesset, elections likely delayed till next week

Likud is seeking to stymie party funding and social media transparency stipulations in dissolution bill, wait for automatic dissolution of Knesset on Dec. 23 when budget deadline expires

An empty Knesset Plenum  (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
An empty Knesset Plenum
A vote on dissolving the Knesset and calling elections that was scheduled for Tuesday now looks unlikely to happen until the beginning of next week, seemingly due to opposition by the Likud to ancillary components of the Knesset dissolution bill.
The bill includes stipulations that would cut party funding for elections and require transparency in spending and messages in paid advertisements on social media, measures which the Likud opposes.
The Knesset dissolution bill was scheduled for its first reading on Tuesday and although it is still on the Knesset plenum’s agenda it is one of the later agenda items and is unlikely to be reached since the plenum needs to finish early due to the Hanukkah holiday.
A vote on the bill is now likely to be pushed off until next Monday, December 21, but if it is not passed in its second and third readings by December 23 the Knesset will be dissolved automatically and elections called if the state budget is not passed by then, as seems likely.
If the dissolution bill is passed then elections would be called for March 16, but if the Likud and Knesset Speaker MK Yariv Levin block it then the elections will take place on March 23.
Blue and White faction chair MK Eitan Ginzburg and Blue and White MK Miki Haimovitch strongly protested the expected delay on the dissolution bill during a meeting on Monday morning with Levin.
“You’re behaving like a legislative censor,” Ginzburg told Levin, according to Walla News.
“You don’t care about the date, just the reduction in [party] funding and the fight against fake news.”
Levin said in response that it was unreasonable to dissolve the Knesset without the agreement of all Knesset factions and that he wanted to give more time “for dialogue” over the bill, although Ginzburg retorted that the Likud decided to dissolve the 21st Knesset after the April 2019 election by itself.
Earlier, Leader of the Opposition and Yesh Atid chairman MK Yair Lapid said the country needed new elections because the public has lost trust in the current government.
“We'll go to elections because the people of Israel want a leadership they can trust. They want a government they can believe in, which won't lie to them all the time, which won't drive them crazy all day every day,” said Lapid during a faction meeting.
“We're the only ones who can be trusted when we say we won't sit with Netanyahu. Only believe those who have proven to you that they can be trusted,” he added.
Separately, Communications Minister MK Yoaz Hendel and Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chair MK Zvi Hauser said that if any political breakthrough was found to extend the life of the current coalition they would resign from their coalition positions.
The two, who comprise the Derech Eretz Party, said last week that they would join with rebel Likud MK Gidon Sa’ar ’s nascent party in contesting the next election with the purpose of ousting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from power.
“We support the dissolution of the Knesset in order to return to the voter and remove Netanyahu. If the coalition decides to further extend [the budget deadline] we will resign from our roles,” the two said.