Kadima submits bills to embarrass Lieberman, complicate coalition talks

As celebrations end following the swearing-in ceremony for the 18th Knesset, MKs begin submitting legislation intended not only to help the public, but also to harm political rivals.

MK Shlomo Molla 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
MK Shlomo Molla 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
As soon as the celebrations ended following the swearing-in ceremony for the 18th Knesset on Tuesday, MKs began submitting legislation intended not only to help the public, but also to harm their political rivals. Kadima decided that the first two bills it would submit would be used to harm Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu's chances of forming a coalition, and to embarrass Israel Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman. Both bills are on issues that Israel Beiteinu emphasized during its campaign but may have to compromise on to join Netanyahu's coalition. MKs Marina Solodkin and Shlomo Mula submitted a bill that would offer civil unions to couples seeking to be legally recognized without a religious ceremony in order to receive governmental benefits. The bill would create an alternative path for couples to bind themselves to each other that is not religious. "The faction decided to submit the bill because of the political battle taking place over the civil agenda," Solodkin said. "When the bill comes for a vote, we will see who is really in favor of helping thousands of couples who have to go abroad because they cannot get married in the Rabbinate." Kadima faction chairman Yoel Hasson submitted an electoral reform bill drafted by former MK Menahem Ben-Sasson when he headed the Knesset Law Committee. The bill calls for a series of changes in the electoral system to make it more stable and more democratic. The changes include making the leader of the largest party prime minister automatically, taking away the president's role in deciding who should form the government. Had that change been made before February 10's election, Kadima leader Tzipi Livni would have automatically become prime minister. The bill adopts the recommendation of the Magidor Commission on electoral reform appointed by president Moshe Katsav, to elect half the Knesset in direct, regional elections and half via the current system. Another change would allow a prime minister to be toppled in a "constructive no-confidence vote" with the support of 70 MKs who all support the same replacement candidate, instead of the current 61. Ben-Sasson's package also included raising the minimum voter threshold from 2 to 5 percent, a limit on the number of ministers, and the so-called Norwegian Law, by which ministers quit the Knesset but return to the parliament if they quit the cabinet. A spokeswoman for Lieberman responded that he voted for electoral reforms and civil unions in the last Knesset, and Kadima MKs, including Livni, voted against them. "Lieberman will vote according to his principles, as he always has, despite whatever tricks Kadima tries to pull," the spokeswoman said.