Changes may boost gov't ability to rule

According to Justice Ministry's planned amendments, 65 votes required to win no-confidence motion.

document hand 88 (photo credit: )
document hand 88
(photo credit: )
The Justice Ministry has published for review a series of bills meant to help stabilize and strengthen the government - and in some cases make it more difficult for its opponents to topple it. All the bills are amendments to basic laws. According to one of them, it will no longer be enough for the opposition to muster a majority of MKs to vote no-confidence in the government and select a candidate to form a new one in its place. The bill stipulates that if the chosen candidate fails to form a new government or to win a majority for his government in the Knesset, the vote of no-confidence will be voided and the former government will continue to rule. Another amendment seeks to raise the majority required by the opposition to win a no-confidence vote from 60 to 65 MKs. The government is also proposing to introduce legislation based on the Norwegian law, which calls for cabinet ministers who are also members of parliament to resign from the Knesset. In such a case, the candidate from the minister's party who is next in line on the party's slate of election candidates will take his place in the legislature. In the Israeli version, a cabinet minister who is also an MK may resign his Knesset seat. If he does, he will be replaced by the member of his party who is next in line on the party's slate of candidates. The aim is to strengthen the coalition's presence in parliament, when so many of its members are busy running ministries. If the minister who resigned from the Knesset leaves the cabinet, he may retake his parliamentary seat and the last member of his party to join the Knesset will be bumped out. Another bill would make it harder for MKs to pass legislation against the government's will that will cost more than NIS 5 million. Currently, a majority of 50 MKs is required to pass such a law. The bill increases the minimum to 55 MKS. Another bill would make it easier for a dissident group within a parliamentary faction to break away from its colleagues and form a separate faction without sanctions. Under the current law, if an MK breaks away from his faction during a Knesset term, he may not run on the slate of any party that was represented in that Knesset. But this rule is waived if at least one-third of the faction decides to break away. Under the new bill, as long as at least seven MKs decide to break away from a faction which has more than 21 members, the members of the breakaway group will be allowed to run either as their own faction, or as part of any other faction represented in the current Knesset, even if they constitute less than one-third of the faction they broke away from.