Kahol Lavan and Likud are planning to begin the marathon process of amending Israel’s Basic Laws, the closest thing the state has to a constitution, according to the coalition agreement reached between the two parties on Monday. But the sides have not yet reached an agreement on the final wording of the new laws.
The heads of the opposition parties in the Knesset announced in response that they are demanding that the advancement of the legislation be delayed. In a letter to the Knesset speaker and chairman of Kahol Lavan, Benny Gantz, the heads of the Meretz, Yesh Atid-Telem and Joint List parties said, “The advancement of the bills, before the High Court of Justice has ruled on the matter of agreement between the parties, could well create a situation in which the Knesset legislated a law whose basis is undermined in a decision of the High Court of Justice.
“This could lead to a direct confrontation between the Knesset and the High Court of Justice at a most sensitive and problematic time. Therefore, we ask to delay the advancement of these proposed laws until the High Court of Justice rules, and to cancel the agenda set for [Thursday],” wrote the party leaders.
The legislative process to implement these changes is a major effort and the chance of completing it before the Knesset is scheduled to dissolve on May 7 – if a new government is formed before then – is not high, said a legal official.
“We estimate that we will have time to pass the laws, but it will require sessions into the night, even on days the Knesset does not hold sessions,” said a source in Kahol Lavan.
The coalition agreement signed between Likud and Kahol Lavan includes a long list of changes to the Basic Law on the Government, but will also require changes to the Basic Law on the Knesset. According to one of the sections of the agreement, the legislature will not be allowed to legislate any law that does not concern the coronavirus crisis for at least the first six months of the term of the new government.
At the same time, both Likud and Kahol Lavan will have a veto over the advancement of legislation throughout the government’s entire term. In other words, the parties can block any votes over the next three years on matters they find inconvenient.
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Also, the no-confidence motion will likely have no teeth because the two party leaders will each be forbidden to serve as premier after a successful no-confidence vote – and the chance of finding an alternative government without the two will be highly unlikely.