Netanyahu’s rival Gantz nominates himself to serve as speaker of Israeli parliament

Cheryl Sanders
March 26, 2020

At a session in the Knesset, Israel's parliament, on Thursday, Gantz was named as the only candidate to succeed Netanyahu ally Yuli Edelstein, who resigned as speaker under pressure on Wednesday.

He had blocked a scheduled vote to elect his replacement last week, dismissing parliament before it could take place.

Under law, Gantz could ask for a two-week extension but after three inconclusive national elections in less than a year, he might not get one.

Addressing the Knesset in announcing his resignation, the Likud Party member stated, "The Supreme Court of Justice decided that the Knesset Speaker must hold a vote this week to choose a new Knesset Speaker".


Edelstein had cited the coronavirus crisis and pursuit of Netanyahu's call for a "national emergency government" with Gantz as valid reasons for postponing the election for speaker in the newly sworn-in parliament.

"The Supreme Court's decision contradicts the Knesset protocol", said Edelstein.

He added: "I think the Supreme Court's decision is wrong and risky". "While the Court's decision was necessary, it is of course legitimate to disagree with the ruling".

Facing possible punitive measures, Edelstein said in a statement: "I have no desire to be in contempt of court but my conscience does not allow me to respect the court's order".


Parliament's legal adviser and the attorney general said Edelstein's resignation doesn't absolve him from having to call the vote on Wednesday.

Tamar Zandberg, a member of the leftwing Meretz party allied with Blue and White, accused Gantz of abandoning millions of voters who sought an alternative to Netanyahu.

"The Israeli parliament belongs to Israel's citizens and their elected representatives will follow the laws of the state of Israel and the rulings of its courts", Gantz said on Twitter.

In Israel's third election in 15 months held earlier this month, Blue and White edged past the 60-seat threshold and had been tasked by President Reuven Rivlin to form a government. But he has no easy path to do so because of resistance within his own camp to cooperating with the non-Zionist Joint List of Arab parties.


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