The government plans to expedite the law it approved Sunday morning permitting filming at election polling stations by circumventing bureaucratic procedures in an effort to have it go through all three votes this week. Likud lawmaker Miki Zohar will lead the effort and is expected to chair the special committee to advance the bill. (For the latest election polls – click here)
Since the election in April, Zohar has headed the Knesset's arrangements committee. In this capacity, Zohar is expected to approve the cabinet’s request for an exemption from the tabling rules, which require a 45-day wait after a bill is submitted before it can be voted on.
Thus the Knesset would be able to hold a first reading of the bill – which is an amendment to the Election Law – on Monday. The Knesset has already announced that it plans to convene at 1 P.M.
Once the bill passes its first vote, as is expected, a special committee to advance the bill will be set up. Zohar is expected to chair that committee as well. The special committee will launch intensive deliberations to prepare the bill for its second and third readings, which Zohar believes can take place Wednesday.
Zohar believes the bill will pass easily, because Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman announced that he plans to support it. Similarly, Zohar said he didn’t think there would be a delay in the law’s publication in the government gazette – a condition for it going into effect.
According to the proposal approved by the cabinet Sunday, politically affiliated observers will be able to document voters at the polling stations. The bill was approved over the objection of Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, who said in an opinion last week that there are legal problems with the bill.
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Supreme Court Justice Hanan Melcer, chairman of the Central Elections Committee, wrote, “Legislation of the proposed arrangement a week before the election will disrupt the election arrangements and is highly likely to cause chaos and disarray."
Kahol Lavan, the Labor Party and the Joint List have announced that they will petition against the law as soon as it passes its final readings, as did the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. It isn’t clear whether a government-sponsored bill initiated by a transitional government will pass the scrutiny of the High Court of Justice.