On Wednesday, legislators overwhelmingly cleared the way for a vote this weekend on whether to endorse a proposal for a new government – and a new leader – for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Knesset Arrangement Committee voted Wednesday on procedural rules for the vote on Sunday. At that time, lawmakers will decide whether to approve a proposal to replace Netanyahu with Yamina party leader Naftali Bennett.
Before the voting, the proposed government, made up of conservatives and liberals seeking new leadership, will present its case to the Knesset.
Bennett, if elected, will be Israel’s next prime minister for two years before being succeeded by Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid for the second half of the tenure. A week ago, the intention to shift leadership was publicised.
At Wednesday’s meeting, members of Netanyahu’s Likud Party slammed the deal, with legislator Galit Distal Atbaryan labelling Bennett and New Hope head Gideon Sa’ar “parasites.”
Bennett and Sa’ar, a former Likud member, broke with Netanyahu to call for new leadership. Netanyahu, who will also speak Sunday, has pushed to remain prime minister despite facing various corruption charges in Israeli courts. He’s been prime minister of Israel since 2009 and served an earlier stint between 1996 and 1999.
In all, eight parties have signed onto the new government coalition. A clause in the agreement would prevent any members from signing on to another government, a move to keep the fragile alliance together.
Netanyahu is the longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history but has repeatedly failed to form a majority coalition to run the country over the past two years, leading to four separate national elections.