Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu stated Monday that “now is not the time for elections,” and stressed that he would continue in his efforts to expand the coalition. The comments followed a failed attempt, backed by Netanyahu, to get seven MKs from Kadima to split from the party and form an independent faction that would then join the coalition government.
Netanyahu met on Monday with several ministers and close associates and told them “the coalition has been running security and economic matters very well over the last three-and-a-half years and will continue to do so,” and said that elections would only be held in 2013.
He explained the motive behind the attempted split by saying, “an additional seven MKs in the coalition would mean being able to pass government decisions without one party having the power to bring down the government.” He added that “the country is facing challenges that necessitate stability. The people do not want elections.”
Some political sources nonetheless believe that Netanyahu may hold elections in just three months. In the absence of an arrangement on the haredi ultra-Orthodox conscription, in place of the Tal Law which expires on August 1, some believe that Netanyahu will prefer to call snap elections before entering into the convoluted negotiations for the annual state budget, which many believe will have many cuts to various ministries and be an especially austere one.
If Netanyahu called snap elections, it would signal an intention to hold a vote before the U.S. presidential elections on November 6.
The Knesset House Committee was meeting on Tuesday to discuss a request by Kadima Chairman MK Shaul Mofaz to eject the four MKs who played a central role in the attempt to split the party. According to Israel Radio, Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon responded by saying that Mofaz’s request lacks the legal backing needed to oust the four MKs.
Committee Chairman MK Yariv Levin had summoned Mofaz and the four MKs – Arie Bibi, Yulia Shamalov Berkovich, Otniel Schneller and Avraham Duan – to appear before the committee. Mofaz claims that the four were offered bribes in the form of political appointments in return for leaving Kadima and supporting the government’s alternative to the Tal Law and therefore should be stripped of most of their rights as Knesset members.
Source: ISRAEL HAYOM