Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, working to satisfy the many demands of the six parties that are set to form his coalition, may ask MKs to approve legislation allowing more than one minister per government portfolio, a TV report said Friday.
Netanyahu is negotiating terms for five smaller parties to partner with his Likud for a 65-strong coalition in the 120-member Knesset, having been charged with forming a government after the April 9 elections.
But with more partners clamoring for ministerial positions than there are ministries to accommodate them, his negotiating team is weighing the idea of allocating more than one minister to a ministry, the Channel 13 report said.
Other legislation reportedly being considered to ease Netanyahu’s coalition-building effort is an amendment to the so-called “Norwegian law” that would allow any MK who is appointed to a cabinet post to resign temporarily from the Knesset, thereby permitting the next in line on their party’s slate to enter parliament.
The amendment to the Norwegian Law has been put forward by the Union of Right-Wing Parties, an alliance of the national religious Jewish Home and National Union parties and the right-wing extremist Otzma Yehudit faction. The current law only allows a party to activate the Norwegian law for one of its appointed ministers, but URWP, which won five seats on April 9, wants to ensure that its slate’s lone Otzma Yehudit representative, Itamar Ben Gvir, gets into the Knesset. At number seven on the list, the activist attorney is currently two spots shy of doing so.
In coalition talks with Netanyahu, the center-right Kulanu party leader, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, is insisting on keeping the Finance Ministry for himself as a precondition for joining the coalition, despite Netanyahu’s offer to appoint him as foreign minister, Channel 12 news reported on Friday.
Likud would prefer to hold the Treasury post with one of its own lawmakers by transferring it to acting Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz, the report said, but Kahlon’s insistence means he will likely retain the position and Katz could become the permanent foreign minister.
URWP’s No 2. Bezalel Smotrich is said to be insisting on heading the Justice Ministry, but is unlikely to get the position, and will probably be relegated to a lesser post, such as the Ministry of Housing and Construction.
Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman has demanded the Defense Ministry and the Immigration and Absorption Ministry for his party, the Channel 12 report said.