Labor MK Seeks to Appoint Likud Knesset Speaker for PM Role

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Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In an effort to stave off new elections, Labor MK Omer Bar-Lev is working on gathering signatures to petition President Reuven Rivlin to appoint Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to form a government. “I am not trying to insert myself into the internal debates within the Likud,” Bar-Lev said. “I hope and believe that if the president gives him this task he will succeed in forming a government.”

Bar-Lev made the comments at a weekend political discussion. After both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Blue and White head Benny Gantz failed to form a government, the responsibility fell back to the Knesset itself. According to election rules, if 60 MKs choose one of their number to form a government, that Knesset member is given 28 days to attempt to form one. If a government is not formed by midnight Wednesday, or an MK is not appointed to do so by that time, the Knesset will be dispersed and new elections will be scheduled.

In a statement, the Labor Party said that it “respects MK Bar-Lev and his concern, but this a private effort on his part. The Labor Party remains committed to a government led by Benny Gantz.”

In a statement, Edelstein’s office said Motzoei Shabbos that the speaker has in recent weeks “undertaken many efforts to avoid elections, and is working to conduct negotiations between all sides in the political establishment, as the heads of all parties are aware. The only way to prevent unnecessary and expensive elections is through a unity government with a rotation agreement between Netanyahu and Gantz. We still have four days to come to our senses and do the right thing for the country and its citizens.”