Constitutional crisis? Mass resignations threatened by opposition

Because the Knesset requires 120 sitting members, leaving the body with just 64 members “would lead to a constitutional crisis for the State of Israel,” says law expert.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Lawmakers from the center-left Yesh Atid party chaired by Opposition Leader Yair Lapid are weighing en masse resignations from the Knesset in order to spark a constitutional crisis that could disrupt the coalition’s efforts to pass judicial reform legislation.

MKs from Yesh Atid who spoke about the proposed idea stressed that they would only quit the Knesset should all the parties in the Opposition – Labor, National Unity, Yisrael Beiteinu, Ra’am, and the Hadash-Ta’al – join them.

Speaking to Radio North 104.5, Yesh Atid MK Debbie Biton said the idea of mass resignations “was discussed.” She added that the proposal “is still on the agenda.”

“We in the Labor party are familiar with the idea, and no option is being ruled out,” MK Efrat Rayten told Hebrew-language media.

“I know of the idea,” MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid) told Army Radio, stressing that “not everyone [in the Opposition] is with us,” and “I don’t think we are there yet.”

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However, Dr. Shuki Segev, a senior lecturer at the Netanya Academic College School of Law, told Ma’ariv that the real world ramifications of such a move are unknown.

“In the Basic Law: The Knesset, it is written that when a member of the Knesset resigns, he will be replaced by the next one on the list, so it is not clear what will happen if all those on the party list resign,” he told Ma’ariv.

Because the Knesset requires 120 sitting members, leaving the body with just 64 members “would lead to a constitutional crisis for the State of Israel,” he said.

Segev stressed that en mass resignations by the Opposition could not topple the government or force elections.

“It would not, in any event, lead to the collapse of the government,” he said.