Bennett-Lapid coalition mulls term limit legislation, but no agreement reached

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The negotiation teams of the parties making up the pending coalition continued to debate legislation that would set term limits for the prime minister, which could presumably apply to Benjamin Netanyahu. All the parties agree that there should be some sort of term limit, but there are disagreements regarding the details.

A cooling-off bill that was raised Monday by Zeev Elkin and the New Hope party which would ban someone who’d served as prime minister during the last eight years from being elected to the Knesset was dropped. The bill would have meant that if the new government would fall and the Knesset dissolves, Netanyahu would not be permitted to run in the next election, and thus would have no incentive to try to bring down the new government.

But Yamina refused to back such a bill. “There isn’t any, wasn’t any and won’t be any agreement on blocking [someone from] running for Knesset,” Yamina said in a statement. “The only thing that was agreed on was limiting the prime minister’s term to eight years or two terms.”

Nevertheless, there is a desire to pass some kind of legislation that would not only limit the prime minister’s term, but help the nascent coalition survive. One of the main questions is when it would go into effect and whether it would apply to Netanyahu’s previous terms. This would influence the legal feasibility of the bill, which would almost certainly be challenged in petition to the High Court of Justice.

About the efforts to advance such legislation, Likud said, “[Yamina chairman Naftali] Bennett is turning Israel into a benighted democracy – North Korea, corner Iran. This law would remove Israel from the company of enlightened democracies and place it with the darkest tyrannical regimes. Bennett is crossing every line in his crazy pursuit of the prime minister’s seat at all costs.”

There is agreement among the coalition members that an understanding must be reached on the issue at by Wednesday or Thursday, so as to secure a commitment to such legislation as part of the coalition agreements.