Opposition parties fume as government derails budget filibuster
search

Opposition parties fume as government derails budget filibuster

With deadline for vote looming, Knesset panel groups 32,000 objections by topic rather than hearing each individually, avoiding days of debate

Marissa Newman is The Times of Israel political correspondent.

Knesset House Committee Chairman David Bitan speaks at a committee meeting October 26, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Knesset House Committee Chairman David Bitan speaks at a committee meeting October 26, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The Zionist Union party reacted angrily Tuesday to a government move to consolidate objections to the state budget, and said opposition parties were rescinding all agreements reached with the coalition thus far on the budget, without elaborating.

In a delaying tactic, the opposition had said it expected each of its 32,000 objections to the budget to be individually considered before the Knesset can vote on the budget itself.

But 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.

House Committee chairman MK David Bitan (Likud) defended the move to group the objections together, saying they were filed solely to throw the budget vote off track. The Knesset must vote on the budget by Thursday or the government will be forced to call fresh elections.

Bitan said that, “99.5% of the objections are irrelevant, frivolous, and are designed to put a spoke in the wheel of the government.”

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

MK Merav Michaeli of the Zionist Union party at the Knesset, November 02, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
MK Merav Michaeli of the Zionist Union party at the Knesset, November 02, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

“A filibuster is a parliamentary tool of the first order,” Zionist Union MK Merav Michaeli said. “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 termed the decision to consolidate the objections “cowardly,” and said it “brings the Knesset to a new low.”

Late Tuesday evening, coalition head MK Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) said that the factions of the coalition “made superior efforts to reach agreements with the opposition on the matter of the order of discussing and voting on the various legislation, but were met with irresponsible inflexibility. The opposition tried to drag the country to early, expensive elections through a manipulative use of reservations to the law.”

If the opposition’s “scheme,” as Hanegbi called it, would succeed, “the country would remain without a budget and would be presented in the world as ungovernable, a country whose parliament is willing to risk its standing and economic stability for the sake of political intrigue.”

read more:
comments