Thursday, 09 April, 2020

Israel’s parliamentary speaker resigns before court deadline on vote

Israeli Parliament Speaker Yuli Edelstein a member of Netanyahu's Likud party also defied a Supreme Court order to hold a vote for his successor WATCH: Former MK Dov Lipman Explains Israel's Unprecedented Constitutional Crisis
Deanna Wagner | 26 March, 2020, 21:26

It could pave the way for a "rotation deal" in which Netanyahu and Gantz, a former military chief, would take turns as prime minister.

Spurred on by the need to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, including more than 2,600 confirmed Israeli cases, there have been widespread calls for an emergency alliance between the rivals.

On Wednesday, Knesset Speaker Yuli Adelstein submitted his resignation hours before the deadline set by the Supreme Court to hold parliamentary elections that would determine his successor.

But the stand-off between the right-wing and religious bloc surrounding Netanyahu and the centre-left camp around Benny Gantz of the Blue and White alliance continues.

Gantz who belongs to the Blue and Centrist White Party has come under fire for allowing serving under the government of the man he challenged in an election.

A formal vote to elect Gantz was underway early on Thursday evening.

Blue and White had meant to nominate another lawmaker, who is part of a different faction of the party, and to use the position to push for legislation that would prevent an indicted lawmaker from becoming prime minister.

NY establishes a temporary morgue amid a coronavirus pandemic
This all comes after New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's latest update on where the state stands with battling the virus. The number of deaths in New York City increased 110 percent since Tuesday night, March 24.

Addressing the Knesset in announcing his resignation, the Likud Party member stated, "The Supreme Court of Justice decided that the Knesset Speaker must hold a vote this week to choose a new Knesset Speaker".

Likud in a statement said details emerging in the media about the composition of a unity government were just "rumours".

This is a crucial period for Gantz, who's been assigned the task of forming a new governing coalition amid the health and economic crisis created by the coronavirus outbreak.

Gantz said he meant to advance towards a unity government, and that he had opted to put himself up for the speaker's office to promote a deal.

Telem's Moshe Yaalon and Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid were widely thought to have opposed a unity deal with Netanyahu.

"There's deep unrest among all parts of the nation, we must put it aside", the premier said in a televised address late Wednesday focusing on anti-coronavirus measures.

Calling for a unity government, he added, "Knesset members, citizens of Israel, right now our nation needs unity, needs a unity government".