Justice Minister Sa'ar to Seek Coalition's Support for Bill Limiting Prime Minister to 8 Years in Office

The bill is not expected to be retroactive and would then not apply to Netanyahu

Michael Hauser Tov
Michael Hauser Tov
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar speaking at a Haaretz conference this week.
Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar speaking at a Haaretz conference this week.Credit: Hadas Parush
Michael Hauser Tov
Michael Hauser Tov

Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar will seek to obtain the government coalition's support on Sunday for a bill that would limit Israel's prime minister to serving no more than eight years in office.

Sa'ar said Thursday that he would present the legislation to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation at its Sunday meeting. Support by the committee would bind the coalition to support the legislation unless the committee's decision is appealed. 

According to the draft bill that Sa'ar released last month, the legislation is not expected to apply retroactively and would therefore not apply to former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a future election.

'Israel's Haredi politicians are feeling the ground shake beneath their feet'. LISTEN

-- : --

"The position of prime minister is a position whose power and importance is difficult to overstate" and that affects most of the aspects of life in the country, the explanatory notes in the draft bill state.

"By its very nature, an extended term in this very powerful position could lead to an excessive concentration of power in the hands of the person serving in it and therefore could have damaging consequences. Limiting the maximum term, as is proposed in this memorandum of law, is designed to limit in time the damaging influence of an excessive concentration of power in the hands of one person."

Unlike the current situation "in which the prime minister invests a great deal of resources to be elected over and over and to maintain himself in power, limiting the prime minister's term would enable him to freely deal with implementing the values and reforms over which he was elected," Sa'ar said.

Netanyahu is currently on trial on corruption charges, but unlike proposed legislation that would curb the ability of someone under indictment to form a government, Sa'ar's bill limiting the term of the prime minister has relatively broad support. The expectation is that he will only encounter limited opposition to it, but not all of the parties in the Knesset have stated a recent position on the matter.

On Thursday, Sa'ar also expressed his intention to advance another bill that would limit Israeli mayors to two terms. The bill would only permit a third mayoral term if the mayor is reelected by a special majority of more than half of the votes, rather than just a plurality.

Click the alert icon to follow topics: