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Netanyahu incorrectly claims directly elected PM would ‘automatically’ set up coalition

Netanyahu devoted several sections of his address tonight to his plea for Bennett to support legislation for the direct election of the prime minister. Strikingly, he also claimed that such legislation would mean that were he to win a direct-election vote, he would then “automatically” set up the next government, as he said is the case in many democracies.

This is not the case in Israel, however, where the relevant Basic Law requires that, in order to take office, a coalition must win a Knesset majority. That law would therefore have to be amended, with the support of 61 members of Knesset.

“There is a solution here, in front of us, that doesn’t require Gideon [Sa’ar] or [Bezalel] Smotrich,” Netanyahu said. “A solution whereby the public simply determines who will be prime minister. And this solution depends only on you [Bennett]. If you vote in favor, it’ll have a majority.

Netanyahu added: “In a direct election for the prime minister, whoever is chosen will automatically set up the government — as is normal in many democracies. He wouldn’t need the approval of the Knesset. He automatically forms a government. That’s the case in many democracies from Japan and New Zealand, to Norway and Portugal…”

Netanyahu went on: “Most of the public, and the vast majority of your supporters, Naftali, want this. This is the only democratic solution, in complete contrast to the anti-democratic, surreal effort you and Lapid are attempting, with the support of the left-wing media, to set up a left-wing government headed by a prime minister with seven seats…

“The government you are planning will quickly collapse and lead to new general elections,” Netanyahu tells Bennett. “But that doesn’t bother you. You’ll do everything to satisfy your unbridled personal ambition… Everything to be a prime minister with seven seats, even if only for a few months, even at the head of a left-wing government, and even at the price of destroying the right.

“I ask you simply,” Netanyahu concluded: “Stop misleading the public. Stop playing games. Cancel your anti-democratic deal with Lapid for a left-wing government in opposition to the will of the people and your voters. Immediately support direct election for the prime minister. Only then can you call your party Yamina (Right) and not Smola (Left).

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