Compromise leads to March 28 election

Katsav, not legislation, to disperse Knesset under Wednesday's agreement.

katsav sits stern 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
katsav sits stern 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
After a slight juggling of dates, President Moshe Katsav officially signed-off Wednesday on the compromise reached to disperse the Knesset and call March 28 elections. The agreement reached Tuesday, in which Katsav will approve Sharon's motion to dispers e the Knesset while allowing the Knesset to set the election date, had to be slightly reworked after incorrect dates were initially announced. The Knesset has held firm to the March 28 election date. In order to accommodate that date, the timing of Sharon's order must go into effect on December 6. The Knesset would then have 21 days to nominate their own candidate to replace Sharon or accept his order and disperse on December 28. Elections would then be set for 90 days following the dispersal - or March 28. "There was some confusion about the timing and they originally planned to order the dispersal December 1," a Knesset spokesman said. "Then they realized the correct dates. Unfortunately, being a mathematician is not really a requirement for politicia ns." Earlier Wednesday, MK Michael Eitan, chairman of the Knesset's Constitution, Justice and Law Committee froze all bills regarding the Knesset's motion to disperse itself. Eitan had also helped reach the compromise alongside Attorney General Menahem M azuz, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, and Katsav. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had wanted the elections to be held as soon as possi ble to take advantage of the public's support of his new party, while the Knesset demanded the elections be held on March 28. At a media briefing on Wednesday, Katsav lauded both the government and the Knesset for their understanding and cooperation. In addition to notifying the prime minister by phone of his decision Wednesday, Katsav sent an official letter to Sharon stating the final election date.ˇ