Text size

The Knesset passed the Economic Arrangements Bill - legislation to ensure that the parties in the governing coalition agree to the annual budget -late Wednesday. 71 MKs voted for the bill while 36 voted against it.

The vote was delayed until the wee hours of the morning due to a technical problem with the Knesset's electronic voting system. After the system crashed the MKs were forced to vote on some parts of the bill by hand, which caused confusion among the lawmakers.

Former Labor head MK Amir Peretz was absent from the vote because the bill postpones the scheduled raise in minimum wage by 6 months.

The Knesset is scheduled to vote Thursday on the NIS 300 billion national budget for 2008. Though the governing coalition is expected to win, many MKs are protesting what they consider to be oversights in the document.

The coalition expects to win because of concessions it has made: It agreed to cancel health taxes for stay-at-home parents and leave welfare allowances uncut. It had previously sought a cut of 4 percent.

Despite the compromise, several coalition MKs said they would vote against the budget. Ephraim Sneh from Labor said he objected because the budget does not address the Iranian threat.

Yoram Marciano, also from Labor, said he would object unless Labor makes sure there is enough for rehabilitation programs for people in poor neighborhoods. Labor's Shelly Yachimovich said she would abstain.