The Israeli parliament, the Knesset, has approved a new law that seeks to prevent the suspension of the prime minister from office and declare him or her unfit to perform their duties.
The bill was passed by a majority of 61 in favor, with 51 MKs opposing it. The draft amendments to the “Basic Law: The Government” were submitted by Ofir Katz, the head of the ruling coalition’s Likud party. The proposed amendments state that the prime minister can only be declared unfit if an absence or illness prevents him or her from carrying out their duties. The law requires the prime minister to declare themselves incapable, or a 75% vote by ministers will suffice.
In the event that the prime minister objects to a vote in the government, the matter will be brought before the plenary in the Knesset. At least 90 MKs must support a claim of incapability in this forum. The amendment also includes a provision that the High Court is prohibited from hearing any petition that demands the declaration of the prime minister as unfit or approves such a declaration. This decision has drawn criticism from Gali Baharav-Miara, the Israeli government’s judicial advisor, who expressed her opposition to the removal of judicial oversight and shared her legal stance on the issue.
According to Kan 11, the Israeli public broadcaster, the coalition is considering reinforcing the law quickly and submitting the bill for its second and third readings next week. The proposed amendments aim to limit the ability to suspend the prime minister and increase the number of MKs required to declare him or her unfit. While the bill has passed its first reading, it remains to be seen whether it will become law.