Israeli Parliament Speaker Postpones Knesset Dissolution Vote by a Day

A bill to send Israel to election passed a preliminary vote, but still needs three more rounds of voting to go into effect. Should lawmakers fail to pass it, Knesset could dissolve anyway as a state budget deadline is set to expire

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Speaker Yariv Levin speaks during a Knesset meeting, Jerusalem, December 2, 2020.
Speaker Yariv Levin speaks during a Knesset meeting, Jerusalem, December 2, 2020.Credit: Dani Shem Tov/Knesset Spokesperson

Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin on Sunday put off the vote on dissolving parliament from Monday to Tuesday, potentially setting obstacles to the vote that could see Israelis heading to the polls for the fourth time in two years.

The move by Levin, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, was made in an effort to make it more difficult for the vote to take place, since the Knesset’s agenda for Tuesday is busier than usual and debates end at 4 P.M. because of Hannukah.

Most ministers usually miss Tuesday sessions at the Knesset due to ministerial obligations, and Likud hopes that this will make it harder for cabinet members from Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan party to attend the vote.

The bill to dissolve the Knesset submitted by the Yesh Atid-Telem faction was passed in a preliminary vote on December 2, and last week the Knesset House Committee approved it for a first vote. Two more votes are required after that to write it into law.

The bill also includes several sections seeking to amend campaign finance regulations. The proposed measures would increase transparency on donations received by political parties and on online campaign ads.

Sources in Likud claim that the reason for the postponement is the lack of an agreement with Kahol Lavan on the date for the new election cited in the law – March 16 – and on other aspects concerning campaign regulations. But Kahol Lavan sources claim that Likud is trying to foil the vote because of the clauses on campaign financing.

According to a Kahol Lavan source, the Likud’s claim that the election date isn’t acceptable to them is ridiculous.

“Likud representatives voted against the Knesset dissolution law to show that they, too, are against elections. But they didn’t show much opposition during the hearing of the intended date, since the difference between it and the date they want is only a week,” he said.

The source added: “Likud wants to block the dissolution bill because it cuts party funding and requires transparency in advertising, so they will try to let the Knesset dissolve automatically on December 23, because the budget won’t pass. In that event elections will be on March 23 instead of the 16th, but without the funding cut and transparency in advertising.”

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