Lapid calls to replace Knesset speaker Levin ahead of vote on new government

The eight parties in the new coalition formally submit 61 signatures calling a vote on a new speaker for the Knesset, amid fears Likud’s Yariv Levin was planning to delay the vote officially forming the new government as Likud continues its efforts to peel away defectors.

Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett, the two heads of the new coalition announced on Wednesday night, are reportedly worried that Levin was planning to prevent the scheduling of the vote of confidence in the new government.

The new coalition has exactly 61 MKs, the thinnest possible majority in the 120-seat Knesset. A single rebel could theortetically derail the new coalition and leave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in power.

Sources close to Lapid said late Wednesday that if Levin attempted to drag out the scheduling of the plenum vote officially establishing the new government, they would call a vote to replace him as speaker.

Lapid appears to have decided overnight not to wait for the possibility, submitting the required number of signatures to replace the speaker.

The petition names Yesh Atid’s Mickey Levy, a former Jerusalem police chief, as the new coalition’s choice for the next speaker.

MK Mickey Levy during a vote on the state budget at the Finance committee, in the Knesset on March 12, 2018 (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

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