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AG said leaning toward allowing Blue and White to keep cabinet power in transition, even if it fails to cross threshold

Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz attends a Channel 12 News conference in Jerusalem on March 7, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz attends a Channel 12 News conference in Jerusalem on March 7, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit is leaning toward allowing the Blue and White party to keep its cabinet posts through the period of the transition government, even if it doesn’t cross the electoral threshold on March 23, Globes reports.

Last week, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit informed Defense Minister Benny Gantz that he would not currently examine whether the prime minister can fire Gantz and his Blue and White members from the transitional government should the party fail to pass the electoral threshold in the March 23 vote.

Mandelblit informed Gantz this week that he will rule if and when the question becomes relevant.

Gantz has said recently he fears that if he fails to enter the next Knesset, Netanyahu may fire him and his ministers before a new government is established and take far-reaching steps to cripple the justice system and hinder his trial on criminal charges.

In a February interview with Channel 12 News, Gantz said: “If I do not cross the electoral threshold needed to enter the Knesset, and there’s a transitional government headed by Netanyahu, the very next day Netanyahu will fire all the Blue and White ministers, appoint [Likud’s Amir] Ohana as justice minister, fire Mandelblit, not extend the appointment of [new] state prosecutor Amit Aisman, and turn this place into a monarchy.

Gantz currently serves as alternate prime minister, an unprecedented post created as part of the power-sharing agreement between himself and Netanyahu in May 2020. In that role, he has the power to veto cabinet votes and holds control over key ministries that Netanyahu cannot pry away from him so long as the government holds.

He is also slated to take the reins as premier in November of this year, if that government is still in office — an unlikely scenario but one that could potentially come to pass should political deadlock continue and no new government be formed following the March 23 election.

However, it is not clear whether Gantz would retain these powers should his party be ejected from the Knesset. The Blue and White leader recently appealed to Mandelblit to rule on the matter.

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