Dissolution Bill Passes Knesset in Initial Reading


Former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is surrounded by Likud MKs as he attends a preliminary reading at the Knesset of a bill to dissolve the Knesset, Wednesday. (REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

The Knesset passed the initial bill to dissolve the Knesset on Wednesday. The vote passed overwhelmingly with a vote of 110-0.

The bill will face its second and third plenum readings next week and is expected to pass as well.

Monday saw Prime Minister Naftali Bennett call for early elections, saying that the efforts to stabilize the increasingly erratic coalition – in power for barely one year – have been exhausted.

Once the bill is ratified, Bennett’s rotation partner, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will become head of the interim government pending the elections, expected to take place on Oct. 25.

Coalition sources said that one of the issues the caretaker government would like to finalize over the next few weeks is passing the so-called “defendants bill,” which seeks to prevent a lawmaker facing criminal charges from forming the government.

As opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu is currently on trial for corruption, such a move would preclude him from forming the next government.

According to Channel 12, the coalition had planned to present the bill for its first reading next week. It will now have to expedite the legislative procedure if it seeks to pass it prior to the elections.

Bennett said he would give Yamina’s MKs permission to vote as they choose on the matter, the report noted, adding that even if the bill is passed, it would likely be challenged at the High Court over its proximity to the elections.

The threat to begin the legislative process early came as the opposition blew up negotiations on a number of bills that the coalition wants to pass before the Knesset disperses. The negotiations came to an impasse due to the coalition’s refusal to cancel the April 25 Knesset House Committee decision in which Amichai Chikli was officially declared to be a defector.

The Likud demanded the cancellation since the decision barred Chikli from running with any existing party in the next elections, including the Likud.

Knesset speaker MK Mickey Levy (Yesh Atid) said on Wednesday that his party would support the bill.

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