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As coalition falls, ministers float bill to prevent Netanyahu’s return as PM

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu hails the collapse of the Bennett-Lapid coalition, at the Knesset in Jerusalem on June 20, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu hails the collapse of the Bennett-Lapid coalition, at the Knesset in Jerusalem on June 20, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Two government ministers say the coalition may seek to quickly pass a bill that would bar a lawmaker charged with a serious crime from becoming prime minister, which if approved would prevent former premier MK Benjamin Netanyahu from returning to power.

The bill would be joined to a imminent vote on dissolving the Knesset, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman and Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin say separately.

Speaking at an economics conference in Jerusalem, Liberman blames the collapse of the government and the forcing of early elections on Netanyahu, who is on trial for three graft cases including a charge of bribery.

“These elections are the result of the intrigues, lies and harassment of one man, and his name is Benjamin Netanyahu,” Liberman says. “The main goal is to prevent him from returning to power.”

Elkin tells the Kan public broadcaster that his New Hope party backs the bill and that it had not been passed so far because Bennett’s Yamina party had vetoed it.

“It could be that there will be efforts to legislate it now. I don’t know if it is too late,” Elkin says.

Earlier this week, Channel 12 News reported that Bennett opposed passing the criminal offense bill because he was worried it might push Yamina party MK Nir Orbach, who had already declared he was siding with the opposition, to go even further and support an opposition bill to disperse the Knesset. By announcing that the government itself would dissolve parliament, Bennett apparently removed the obstacle to Yamina backing the bill.

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