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Most Cabinet Ministers Support Delaying Presidential Election

peresDespite coming under harsh criticism from opposition MKs, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is continuing his efforts to postpone the presidential elections and/or eliminate the position entirely. It now appears most of the prime minister’s cabinet will back his initiative. Actually, the prime minister is likely to bring a vote to the cabinet as soon as this Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting, 18 Iyar 5774, hoping to obtain a government majority to delay the election for a half year. President Shimon Peres’ term in office will end in July 2014.

Most Likud ministers are onboard and ministers from Yesh Atid, Yisrael Beitenu, The Movement and Bayit Yehudi appear to be in favor of the move as well. Two ministers who have stated their opposition are Gideon Saar (Likud) and Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi).

The prime minister’s initiative calls for delaying the election for a half year and during that time period changes will be made in the form of government, including the direct election of the prime minister. It is clear the prime minister is motivated by his desire to set the stage for reelection, and he is willing to do anything to achieve this goal, including amending a Basic Law. The prime minister also envisions a new situation in which the head of the party receiving the most votes in Knesset elections would automatically be tapped to attempt to form a government. This would eliminate going to the president asking for a mandate to form a coalition. Being that Netanyahu sees himself heading the largest party after the next election, he wants to know he is automatically empowered to form a coalition. He hopes that by the time a new president is elected, the latter’s powers vis-à-vis controlling the coalition will have been significantly curtailed.

While The Movement leader Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Yesh Atid leader Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Bayit Yehudi leader Economy Minister Naftali Bennett have not openly expressed their support for the prime minister’s effort, it appears they are willing to back it.

Even if the cabinet approves the bill on Sunday, the prime minister will not have as easy a time pushing it through Knesset. Coalition MKs (Likud/Yisrael Beitenu) Chaim Katz, Miri Regev, Reuven Rivlin and Elazar Stern have already announced they will oppose the bill in Knesset.

Meretz leader MK Zahava Gal-On feels the prime minister “does not lack shame”, announcing her party will oppose it. The same holds true for opposition leader (Labor) MK Yitzchak Herzog. They both add that even if the plan has merit, one does not seek to ram it into law weeks ahead of an expected presidential election.

Asked if he will remain in office should the election be delayed, President Peres told the media “I will not remain in office one day past my term of seven years which I was elected to serve”.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

One Response

  1. Does the Israeli political class want Israel to be a Western real democracy or a Eastern pseudo-democracy (= demockery) like Putin´s Russia, Erdogan´s Turkey and Rouhani´s Iran?

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