Israel limits conditions for PM ousting

Photo: Amir Levy/ GettyImages

Israel passed a bill on Thursday limiting the circumstances in which a prime minister can be removed, despite opposition voices saying that it may be used to shield the incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from any fallout from his corruption trials.

Massive protests continue in Israel over controversial judicial reforms

Israelis packed city streets on Saturday in nationwide demonstrations against plans by the right-wing government to curb the Supreme Court’s...

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The amended definition for the “incapacity” of national leaders is among legislative measures, drawn up by the new right-wing government that, tipped the country into crisis. According to the opposition, the judicial independence in Israel is in peril.

In turn, the governing coalition says that the overhaul is meant to push back against Supreme Court overreach and restore balance among branches of government.

The bill

By a 61-to-47 final vote, the Knesset approved the bill under which prime ministers can be deemed unfit and compelled to step aside if three-quarters of cabinet ministers declare them so on physical or psychological grounds.

The law, which previously lacked details on circumstances in the event of a non-functioning prime minister now provides the government with guidance, if such a situation arises.

Opposition’s arguments

According to the Israel Democracy Institute think tank, the rule had earlier left Netanyahu vulnerable to a possible assertion of his incapacity by Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara, should she perceive an attempt by him to halt his three court cases.

The new law precludes this, IDI senior researcher Amir Fuchs said, adding that he had considered such a finding by Bararav-Miara to be an unlikely “extreme case”.

Netanyahu denies all charges against him and has cast the trials as a politicized bid to force him out of office.

The Movement for Quality Government in Israel filed a Supreme Court appeal against the new law. Should the court rule to overturn the law, that would fuel the feud.