MK Oren Hazan (Likud) plans to submit a new bill on Monday, forcing a three-year cooling down period on the Knesset Speaker before he or she may run for president. The current Speaker, Yuli Edelstein (Likud), is planning to run for President in the future, following the example of his predecessor, former Speaker and current President Reuven Rivlin.
There has been an ongoing rivalry between Hazan and Edelstein, rife with confrontations, including the Speaker’s decision to suspend Hazan from Knesset plenary meetings due to alleged conduct issues reported by a Channel 2 investigation last year.
Hazan has attacked Edelstein in the media and on several occasions called him “insolent” and “detached from the people.” In June 2016, another friction was recorded when Edelstein did not invite Hazan, who was then his deputy, to his wedding (to a Ukranian billionaire’s daughter), while the young MK Hazan, who was married last February, did send an invitation to the Speaker, only to be snubbed.
When Hazan sneaked into the VIP section with visiting US President Donald Trump at his Ben Gurion airport reception, and snapped a selfie with the leader of the free world, Edelstein condemned the funny incident as a “scandal.”
In the explanatory notes attached to the bill, as revealed by Walla, Hazan argues that competing for the post of President as Knesset Speaker “gives him an unfair advantage over other candidates.”
Also, the fact that the new President is elected by the Knesset creates the possibility that “the Knesset Speaker’s rulings would be influenced by his intention to run for president.”
The bill’s notes further state that the cooling-off period is intended to prevent inappropriate rumors and the feeling that the Speaker’s decisions were influenced by extraneous considerations: “The bill comes out of great respect for the position of Speaker of the Knesset and out of recognition of the influence of this power on MKs in the State of Israel,” the explanatory notes read.
Speaker Edelstein is yet to issue his response to the proposed legislation.