Netanyahu’s Likud moves to advance direct elections for PM

Netanyahu’s Likud moves to advance direction elections for PM

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party moves to advance legislation to hold direct elections for premier without further parliamentary elections, hours before his mandate to form a government expires.

The proposal, which could allow Netanyahu to retain the premiership despite his right-wing religious bloc again falling short of a majority in the March 23 elections, is one of a number of bills that Likud is seeking to get approval to fast-track during a meeting of the Knesset Arrangements Committee later today.

There does not currently appear to be a majority to approve the bill.

The other proposals that Likud wants to be able to hold a plenum vote on tomorrow are: a bill to cancel the 2005 “disengagement” from the Gaza Strip and several West Bank settlements; a bill to introduce the death penalty for terrorists; a bill to bar migrant “infiltrators” from entering the country; a bill to limit parties’ ability to claim standing in lawsuits; a bill to change the way Supreme Court justices are selected; “the attorney general bill”; a bill to “regulate” illegal settlement outposts; a bill allowing the Knesset to overrule Supreme Court rulings; a bill on disqualifying evidence; and a bill to cancel Netanyahu’s power-sharing agreement with Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, which is anchored in law.

Many of the proposals appear designed to split right-wing parties that have not committed to Netanyahu — such as Naftali Bennett’s Yamina — or that oppose the Likud chief — Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope and Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu — as they have voiced support for some of these proposals.

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