Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday told a meeting of Likud ministers that he is not interested in a new law barring the investigation of an incumbent prime minister, a.k.a. the “French law.”
According to the 2007-revised Articles 67 and 68 of the French Constitution, the President of the Republic enjoys immunity during his term: he or she cannot be requested to testify before any jurisdiction, and cannot be prosecuted. However, the statute of limitation is suspended during his term, and inquiries and prosecutions can be restarted one month at the latest after he or she leaves office.
Netanyahu told his fellow Likudniks: “As for French law goes, I say here clearly: I am not interested in any law relating to the ongoing investigations related to me, nor those being conducted now which are not connected to me.”
The statement should roll back the aggressive efforts by Netanyahu’s coalition chairman MK David Bitan (likud) to bring the “french” bill to a vote on Sunday, which ignited a major confrontation among coalition partners. Bitan, in his distinct and brusque style, declared that as the coalition did not agree to the bill, he would let no other coalition bills to be put to a vote.
Both Kulanu and Habayit Hayehudi expressed their fierce objections to the bill, as did Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who warned that the new legislation would rattle Israel’s already frail constitutional standards.
Prime Minister Netanyahu is facing as many as six separate investigations, some directed specifically at him, others at his proxies.