Shalom to bring back his bill to dissolve the 17th Knesset

Likud MK says he will begin work on bill, which has been ready since end of Second Lebanon War, when Olmert returns from Washington trip.

silvan shalom 248 88 aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
silvan shalom 248 88 aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
One of the most likely scenarios for the end of the Olmert government drew a step closer to becoming reality on Sunday when MK Silvan Shalom (Likud) announced that he will once again begin pushing his bill to disband the Knesset. Shalom said that he would begin work on the bill as soon as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert returns from his two-week visit to Washington - with the date of June 18th being floated as the most likely day for the process to begin. Shalom's bill has been ready since the end of the Second Lebanon War, but he has been waiting for the right moment. With the margin of support for the coalition floating at around 64, Shalom would only need to peel away five MKs from the coalition. That, it seems, might not be especially difficult, with members of coalition parties Kadima and Labor already having spoken out on the record in favor of elections. But the price for failure with such a bill is high - if it does not garner support from a majority of Knesset members, the bill is not only tabled, but similar bills are prohibited from being brought forward for the next six months. If the bill is passed, however, the key parties voting in favor will already have worked out among them a date for the elections. The earliest elections could be held after such a vote is ninety days later, and so early November seems to be the most likely possible date for polls to open. In the hours following Defense Minister Ehud Barak's announcement last Wednesday calling on Olmert to leave his post, a group of Labor MKs announced that they had submitted a similar bill. MKs Ophir Paz-Pines, Shelly Yacimovich, Eitan Cabel and Danny Yatom emphasized at the time that the proposal had been coordinated with Barak. Shalom, however, is likely to try and block the progress of the rival bill and enlist the support of the four MKs for his own.