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June 22, 2022 4:21 pm

Bennett Says He Won’t Back Bill That Blocks Netanyahu From Becoming PM

avatar by i24 News

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, March 20, 2022. Maya Alleruzzo/ Pool via REUTERS

i24 News – Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Wednesday that he would vote against legislation barring a lawmaker charged with a serious crime from becoming prime minister.

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu is currently battling charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, meaning the bill would prevent him from seeking out another term as premier.

Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid announced Monday that they decided to dissolve the government, prompting several parties to move forward with the legislation.

“The right to vote and be elected is sacred and constitutes the very essence of democracy,” Bennett wrote in a tweet about the proposed legislation. “While we’ve seen that there is a heavy price for a criminal defendant serving [as prime minister], those who should have the final word are Israel’s citizens.”

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“Certainly, on the eve of an election — there is no place for changing the rules of the game. Rather, people should be allowed to decide at the ballot box. I am convinced they will make the right choice,” he added.

Throughout his year in office, Bennett repeatedly blocked the legislation from moving forward.

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman’s right-wing Yisrael Beytenu party announced Wednesday it would seek a vote on the bill as soon as possible, and supporters of the bill are working to push it forward.

At least part of Bennett’s right-wing Yamina party is expected to vote against the bill, yet six other coalition parties are expected to back it. The majority-Arab Joint List party — in the opposition — is also likely to support it. However, the bill would need the support of the coalition’s Islamist Ra’am party to succeed, and it is unclear how they plan to vote.

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