As Netanyahu is neither resigning nor being removed by the Supreme Court Israel begins the road to its third election in a 12-month period
Israeli Supreme Court rejected yesterday a petition by the Organization for Quality Governance to remove PM Netanyahu from office due to his indictments for serious crimes. This comes as no surprise, since Israeli foundational law clearly states that a prime minister must resign only after having been convicted of a crime rather than simply charged with one.
In further news, Mr. Netanyahu and the head of the governing secretariat of the Likud party, Mr. Katz have agreed that elections for the leadership of the party in which any Likud member can challenge Mr. Netanyahu for that post will be held six weeks from yesterday. This was in response to a request from Likud member of the Knesset (MK) Gideon Sa’ar, who has long set his sights on replacing Mr. Netanyahu at the helm of the party and perhaps in the prime minister’s office. All members of the Likud party, roughly 200 thousand people, will be eligible to vote. As this will be an irregular election rather than a properly scheduled primary, only the top position in the party hierarchy, the one currently occupied by Mr. Netanyahu will be challenged.
The timing of this leadership challenge has been strategically chosen to fall well after the deadline, a fortnight from today, at which if no new government is formed, new election will be declared and yet well in advance of the new election date, likely to be sometime in March 2020. This would allow Netanyahu to still have the chance to form a new government in the next two weeks while should that effort fail, give him a renewed mandate for competing in the upcoming election.
The upshot of both developments is that we are headed to a new, third in a row election in which Mr. Gantz from Blue and White and Mr. Netanyahu from the Likud will be the two candidates for the prime minister’s post yet again, though Mr. Netanyahu will run as someone who has been indicted for bribery and breach of public trust.
On the streets of Israel, the new election campaign is already well underway with a massive support rally for Mr. Netanyahu planned for this Tuesday.
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