Jerusalem – Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who succeeded embattled Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as head of the ruling Kadima Party, has decided that she would opt for early elections, and the political establishment found itself facing three options from which to choose.
As soon as Ms. Livni informs Israeli President Shimon Peres she has failed to form a coalition, the president can announce new elections within 90 days. Since Knesset elections are always held on a Tuesday, the closest date for elections is Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009, one week after the inauguration of the new American president. This scenario is considered the most likely to play itself out.
The factions in the Knesset must reach an agreement about a date for new elections within five months and pass a bill to dissolve the 17th Knesset. Legal analysts said that once the president announces elections within 90 days, it is no longer possible to introduce a bill to dissolve the Knesset, but the likelihood of a bill to dissolve the Knesset happening is low.
By law, the president is entitled to impose the task of forming a government on another Knesset member, provided he is convinced that this MK has a chance of succeeding at that task. Likud Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu has already ruled out the possibility that he might be party to “such a ploy,” as he referred to it. Aside from Mr. Netanyahu, it is hard to see anyone else in the current Knesset who might have the ability to secure a 61 MK majority. Incidentally, the president cannot ask Labor Party Chairman Ehud Barak to form a government since Mr. Barak is not a member of the Knesset. Again, analysts say the likelihood of this happening is low.
David Bedein can be reached at email@example.com. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2008