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Sunday, March 3, 2013

In Theory, According to Israeli Law, We May Be Without A Coalition a Long Time

Thanks to IMRA for posting the details of the Government Coalition Law in English.

At present, a period which has lasted months already, the State of Israel has had a version of a "lame duck government."  It's not the same sort of "lame duck" that exists in the United States.  In the Israeli version:
  • the ministers are of the previous government coalition
  • the new MKs have been sworn in and are working as MKs
  • the MK who has been given the responsibility/opportunity to form a new coalition hasn't yet done it
Political pundits are floating all sorts of scenarios about possible coalition deals and even possible new elections.  As I had posted last night, Binyamin Netanyahu has requested and was granted a 14 day extension to form a new coalition government by President Shimon Peres.

If Netanyahu fails to create/negotiate a new coalition, that doesn't mean that we're going directly into elections.  There are a few more stages, and if a majority of this Knessest, the 120 MKs never manage to agree/compromise enough to work together as a coalition, we won't have elections for a few months.

Here's the time table according to IMRA:

Elections
Publications of results
Max 7 days President assigns task of forming government after consultations
28 days first attempt to form government
14 days extension
3 days maximum before assign task to a second MK
28 days to form government by second MK
21 days for a majority of MKs to nominate third MK to form a government
2 days for President to announce appointment of the third MK
14 days for third MK to form government
President announces government cannot be formed.
Last Tuesday before the end of 90 days elections held
Basic Law: The Government (2001)...Assignment of task of forming Government.
7. (a) When a new Government has to be constituted, the President of the
State shall, after consultation with representatives of party groups in the
Knesset, assign the task of forming a Government to a Knesset Member who has
notified him that he is prepared to accept the task; the President shall do
so within seven days of the publication of the election results, or should
the need arise to form a new government; and in the case of the death of the
Prime Minister, within 14 days of his death.
(b) Should these consultation take place before the new Knesset is convened,
the President will consult the representatives of the lists of candidates to
be represented in the new Knesset.
(c) This section shall not apply to the formation of a Government following
a no confidence vote according to section 28; in the event of an application
to the President under section 29(b), the provisions specified in those
sections shall apply.
Periods for formation of Government.
8. The Knesset Member to whom the President has assigned the task of forming
a Government under section 7 shall have a period of 28 days for the
fulfillment of such task. The President of the State may extend the period
by additional periods not exceeding in the aggregate 14 days.
Re-assignment of task.
9. (a) Where the periods referred to in section 8 have passed and the
Knesset Member has not notified the President of the State that he has
formed a Government, or where he has notified him before then that he is
unable to form a Government, or where he presented a Government and the
Knesset rejected his request for confidence under section 13(d), the
President may assign the task of forming a Government to another Knesset
Member who has notified him that he is prepared to accept the task, or may
inform the Speaker of the Knesset that he sees no possibility of forming a
Government - all within three days from the end of the period, or from the
day of the Knesset member's statement that he cannot form a government, or
from the rejection of confidence in the Government, as applicable.
(b) Before assigning the task of forming a Government under this section, or
before he informs the Speaker of the Knesset that he sees no possibility of
forming a Government, the President may again consult with representatives
of factions in the Knesset.
(c) A Knesset Member to whom the task of forming a Government has been
assigned under this section shall have 28 days in which to do so.
Assignment of task at the request of party groups.
10. (a) Where the President of the State has informed the Speaker of the
Knesset, under section 9(a) that he sees no possibility of forming a
Government, or where he has assigned the task of forming a Government to a
Knesset Member under the same section and the Knesset Member has not
notified him within 28 days that he has formed a Government, or has notified
him before then that he is unable to form a Government, or presented a
Government and the Knesset rejected his request for confidence under section
13(d), a majority of the members of the Knesset may request, in writing,
that the President of the State assign the task to a particular member of
the Knesset, who so agreed in writing, all within 21 days of the President's
announcement, or from the end of the period designated in section 9(c), or
from the statement by the Knesset Member that he cannot form a Government,
or from the rejection of confidence in the Government, as relevant.
(b) Where a request as aforesaid has been submitted to the President, the
President shall assign the task of forming a Government to that Knesset
Member within two days.
(c) A Knesset Member to whom the task of forming a Government has been
assigned under this section shall have a period of fourteen days for its
fulfillment.
Early elections in the event of failure to form a government.
11. (a) Should no request be submitted under section 10(a), or should a
Knesset Member fail to form a Government within the period defined in
section 10(c), or if he should prior to that time inform the President that
he cannot form a Government, the President shall so inform the Knesset
Speaker.
(b) Should the President so inform the Knesset Speaker, or should a Knesset
Member charged with forming a Government under section 10(a) present a
Government and fail to win the confidence of the Knesset under section
13(d), then the Knesset shall be deemed to have decided to disperse prior to
the completion of its period of service, and elections for the Knesset will
be held on the last Tuesday before the end of 90 days of the President's
announcement, or of the rejection of the request for confidence in the
Government, as relevant.
Like it or not, coalition or not, Netanyahu may continue as Prime Minister for quite a while.  Who wants to add up the days to see how many months he may last without needing a coalition?

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