Lapid-Bennett Coalition Calls to Replace Israeli Parliament Speaker
The parties comprising the “change bloc” that announced Wednesday night its intention to form a national unity government, have called for the selection of a new speaker of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, ahead of the vote of confidence required to form a new government.
If the current speaker, the Likud’s Yariv Levin, remains in that post, he is expected to drag out the formation of a new government as long as possible, to allow time for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to entice one or more “change bloc” parliamentarians to defect. This would make it impossible for the new coalition, headed by Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid and Yamina leader Naftali Bennett, to win a vote of confidence, leaving Netanyahu in charge of a caretaker government and sending the country back to elections for a fifth time since April 2019.
In a petition signed by the 61 parliamentarians who comprise the new coalition, Levin’s intended replacement is named as Yesh Atid Member of Knesset and former Jerusalem police chief Mickey Levy. The change coalition intends to hold votes on the new speaker and new government on Monday.
The defection process may, however, already be underway. Yamina MK Nir Orbach, who has given only reluctant, lukewarm support for party leader Bennett’s efforts to form a unity government, says he was not asked before his name was included on the petition, and wishes to withdraw it – a move that could leave Levin, and ultimately Netanyahu’s caretaker government, in place.