Knesset opposition fumes over government bid to break filibuster

The opposition says all bets are off on the budget if its whopping 32,000 objections are not brought to individual Knesset votes.

The committee in charge of Knesset procedure on Tuesday ruled that the unprecedented number of reservations submitted on the two-year budget — which would take days to bring to individual votes — would be consolidated to several hundred, lumping together the objections by topic.

Committee chairman David Bitan (Likud) defends the move to consolidate the objections, saying they are meant to throw the budget vote, needed by the end of the week, off track.

“99.5% of the objections are not relevant, are frivolous, and are designed to put a spoke in the wheel of the government,” he says.

If the budget debate goes past its Thursday deadline, the government would be forced to call fresh elections.

In response, the Zionist Union says the opposition parties are calling off all of the agreements reached with the coalition thus far on the budget, without elaborating.

The Zionist Union accuses the Netanyahu government of “trampling on the Knesset and the public, and acting undemocratically.”

Zionist Union MK Merav Michaeli speaks at the Knesset, February 27, 2013. (Flash90)
Zionist Union MK Merav Michaeli speaks at the Knesset, February 27, 2013. (Flash90)

“A filibuster is a parliamentary tool of the first order,” Zionist Union MK Merav Michaeli says. “The objections are legitimate, even if the coalition views them as irrelevant. Wanting to overthrow the government is the job of the opposition, and it is its right to use all the tools at its disposal to do so. The opposition took time to write 32,000 objections… It is our right, even according to the rules, to demand a vote on every reservation.”

Yesh Atid terms the decision to consolidate the objections “cowardly,” and says it “brings the Knesset to a new low.”

— Marissa Newman

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