YERUSHALAYIM – It appears that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s wish to do away with Israel’s presidency has been done away with by coalition partner Yair Lapid, who came out against it late on Tuesday night.
Netanyahu was lining up support to delay the race by six months, allowing time for the legislative maneuvers necessary to abolish the institution of the presidency.
But the scheme depended on broad support within his coalition, sources close to the prime minister’s associates told The Jerusalem Post.
Lapid’s opposition, along with that of parties outside the coalition, would seem to rule out any chance of Netanyahu’s wish coming true.
“I will oppose any initiative to delay the race for president,” Lapid said. “A constitutional change cannot be hastened and made at the last moment.”
Lapid’s decision was interpreted by some observers as an act of revenge for Netanyahu’s blocking Yesh Atid faction chairman Ofer Shelah from becoming chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Next week, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein will announce a date for the Knesset to choose the next president, likely June 16 or 18.