Meretz Party chairman Nitzan Horowitz on Wednesday called on Blue and White to form a government on the basis of a law that would prevent a prime minister under indictment from forming a government.
According to Horowitz, “The new Knesset has an absolute majority [62 MKs] that would back a law barring a prime minister facing criminal charges from taking office. That is the right thing to do, politically. It reflects the wishes of the majority of voters and it is also morally appropriate.”
As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trial on corruption charges is set to begin on March 17, the call for such a law represents a clear attempt to block his path to office following the Likud’s electoral victory on Monday.
Israel’s Central Election Committee is still tallying up the ballots, but with most of the votes having been counted the Likud has achieved a clear win, with 36 seats, while challenger Blue and White has 33 seats. The right-wing bloc Likud heads has 58 seats, while the center-left bloc under Blue and White has 40. The Joint Arab List has 15 seats and Yisrael Beiteinu, with seven mandates, remains the key to a potential coalition.
Joint Arab List MK Ahmad Tibi expressed his support for the initiative, saying: “We will support a bill that prohibits a criminal defendant from forming a government.”
Blue and White MK Ofer Shelah noted that “the most important thing right now is to make sure that Benjamin Netanyahu does not form a government. Then we will see how we move forward.”
Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett said in response: “The initiative by Ahmad Tibi and Ofer Shelah to pass the ‘Netanyahu disqualification law’ is an extremely anti-democratic move, and a spit in the face of half of the Israeli public.
“The elections were held only two days ago and already there are those who are trying to circumvent the will of the people by improper means. Yamina will absolutely oppose this move and fight it with all our might.”
Bennett’s party colleague Ayelet Shaked said, “The camp that hails democracy is trying to pass legislation to cancel out the election results, with help from supporters of terrorism. [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan couldn’t do it any better.”
“Why beat around the bush? Pass a law saying Gantz is prime minister—not for four years, but for 40,” added Shaked.
Shas Party leader Aryeh Deri called the idea of “passing a law after the election and after the public has spoken that would prevent Netanyahu from serving as prime minister is a disgrace and violates all the rules of the political game.”
Deri went on to say that “Blue and White is willing to sacrifice the good of the country and unity among the people on the altar of its personal hatred for Netanyahu, which they have in common with [Yisrael Beiteinu leader] Avigdor Lieberman and the Joint Arab List. I thought they learned their lesson that ‘Anyone but Bibi’ isn’t an agenda and isn’t a work plan”
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.