Itongadol.- The High Court of Justice on Monday rejected a petition to block Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu\’s proposal to increase the number of ministers in the next cabinet, in an amendment the Basic Law.
High Court rejects bid to block Netanyahu\’s proposal to expand cabinet
Netanyahu will present the proposal to Knesset for deliberation later Monday, following its approval by cabinet ministers the day before. The amendment would enable Netanyahu to appoint ministers without portfolio and increase the number of deputy ministers in the next coalition. He intends, at this point, to appoint 20 ministers within the narrow government he managed to consolidate. The draft of the bill states that the cost of additional ministers is irrelevant.
The petition to block the amendment from going through was submitted by Yesh Atid to prevent the amendment from going through, the court ruled it to be irrelevant. "After overusing the response of the defendants and the stance of the attorney general, I saw no reason to grant the requested injunction," said Supreme Court justice Dafna Barak-Erez.
Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon wrote in his response to the High Court that the request to issue an injunction was "baseless and most extreme. The proposal has not yet been brought to the Knesset table and has not yet been debated by any element in Knesset."
Netanyahu needs the support of all 61 members of the coalition. The parties member to the coalition, as well as the factions in the opposition, have issued a "no exit" policy for the day\’s deliberation, obligating MKs to remain near the Knesset for the vote.
The Likud is concerned that the opposition will try to filibuster the proposal. The proposal is likely to be voted on in a first reading already at the end of this deliberation, though Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein may decide to postpone it by a day. The second and third reading will not be held before Wednesday, the day that the new cabinet is due to be presented.
On Sunday, Yinon told the government that it was obliged to provide details about the potential costs of increasing the number of cabinet ministers, in response to a request by Labor Party MK Merav Michaeli for his legal opinion on the matter.
Yinon wrote in his opinion to MK Michaeli that the interim committee replacing the Knesset Committee until the new government is sworn in is not authorized to accept the bill and that the coalition will need to appoint a special committee to see the plan through.
"My opinion is that the bill will need to refer to the potential budgetary cost of the proposal, even though the draft proposal makes no reference to it," Yinon wrote.