Yuli Edelstein (Maciej Gillert/Gallo Images Poland/Getty Images)

Israel’s Top Court Orders Knesset Vote on New Speaker

Israel’s Supreme Court has ordered lawmakers to bypass normal avenues of procedure and hold what is essentially an ad hoc vote for a new speaker of the Knesset, or parliament. The ruling came overnight between Wednesday and Thursday after Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein continued to refuse to allow a vote, having insisted last week that parliament would be closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and then, when pressed, claiming that the country’s deadlocked political parties would first have to establish a government – which did not appear to be in the offing. When the court on Wednesday ordered him to hold the vote anyway, saying the Knesset needed to function on an emergency footing due to the pandemic, he resigned and said he would continue to prevent a vote while waiting for his resignation to take effect on Friday morning. The new ruling instructed lawmakers to essentially take matters into their own hands – a highly unusual move that has contributed to an overall sense of unease in a country besieged by not only a deadly health crisis, but a paralyzed political system that just saw its third national election in under a year, with a possible fourth now on the way.

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