President Moshe Katsav
published his order for the dispersal of the Knesset
Thursday, making Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
the head of a
Sharon can now appoint ministers without Knesset approval. His appointments must be approved by the cabinet, and only fill positions
vacated by resigning ministers.
By law, Sharon should also be able to se the date of the next election. However, due to a compromise reached between the Knesset and the Prime Minister's office, Sharon has called for elections to be held on March 28 - a date chosen by the Knesset.
Although the order was published Thursday, the Knesset does not go into recess until Knesset Speaker Rueven Rivlin
submits a date to the House Committee for approval. Sources in Rivlin's office said he was likely to submit December 25, as the first day of the recess. The House Committee said they would meet early next week to consider that date.
By law, the Knesset does have to go to recess, although in the past they have always chosen to do so. A Knesset spokeswoman said that the precedent had been set because during elections MKs were distracted by campaigning and might use their positions as lawmakers to pass populist bills to promote their campaigns.
The order for disbandment goes into full effect on December 29. If at least 61 MKs form a coalition before that date, they could present an alternative candidate to the president. If the president approves that candidate, elections would be cancelled, and the new candidate would take office in 28 days.
Several groups have tried to put together such a coalition, but it appeared highly unlikely Thursday that they would be able to gather the necessary amount of MKs behind a candidate.
The six ministry's vacated by Labor MKs last month are the ministries of National Infrastructure, Interior, Environment, Construction and Housing, and Science and Technology.
Deputy Defense Minister Zeev Boim
and MK Roni Bar-On, who have both joined Sharon's new party Kadima, are expected to receive ministerial posts, among others.