Knesset Prepares for Sunday’s Crucial Vote

YERUSHALAYIM -
View of the Knesset. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Barring any unforeseen development or a last-minute defection – and that certainly cannot be taken for granted – Israel’s 36th government will be sworn in on Sunday afternoon.

This would end Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s premiership and make him the head of the Opposition.

The procedures to install a new government could take several hours, potentially creating drama all through the day, as pro-Netanyahu MKs may try until the very last moment to ensure the crucial vote to officially swear in a government fails.

The Knesset will convene for a special plenum meeting at 4 p.m. for the swearing-in. The meeting will be attended by President Reuven Rivlin, who tasked the MK Yair Lapid to form a government about six weeks ago after Netanyahu had failed to do so in his allotted period. Lapid, who agreed to a rotating premiership with Yamina leader Naftali Bennett in order to replace Netanyahu, will let Bennett represent him at the meeting since he will be Prime Minister for the first two years of the prospective government’s term.

After Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin invites Bennett to present his Cabinet, he will deliver his inaugural speech and outline the coalition’s basic guidelines, as is required by law, under which he would spell out his policy agenda. Lapid, who will hold the title of Alternate Prime Minister until his turn comes, will then deliver his own inaugural address.

In past swearing-in ceremonies, the opposition leader has also been called to deliver a speech before the plenum. Thus, it is likely that Netanyahu will deliver his first speech in more than a decade without holding the title of Prime Minister.

The Knesset would then elect a new Speaker, who will hold a vote of confidence in the new government. If it gets approved, the government will have been officially installed and the new prime minister will be sworn in and pledge allegiance to the country and its laws.