Likud MK Yariv Levin, a close associate of Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu was elected temporary Speaker of the Knesset on Tuesday morning.
The move clears a path for Likud and the right-wing bloc to pass legislation allowing Shas leader Aryeh Deri to return to the cabinet with the Interior and Health portfolios, and to also expand the authority of the National Security Minister for Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben-Gvir. Both parties are firm on not formally joining the governing coalition until the legislation is first passed.
“I hope that the 25th Knesset will be a Knesset that will live out its days and that a stable government will soon be established in Israel. We will need to make a joint effort in order to strengthen the position of the Knesset as the legislative authority, a position that has been greatly damaged in recent times “, said Levin after the vote.
With 64 of the Knesset’s 120 seats held by the right-wing bloc, Netanyahu hoped to quickly assemble a new governing coalition. But negotiations with the leaders of the Shas, United Torah Judaism, Religious Zionist Party, Otzma Yehudit and Noam dragged out over apportioning Cabinet ministries, Knesset committee appointments and prioritizing policy.
All the parties have signed interim coalition agreements, but not final agreements. Netanyahu had until Sunday to present his cabinet and coalition agreements to the Knesset for approval. He asked President Isaac Herzog for a two-week extension, which is customarily given, but Herzog gave Netanyahu 10 days instead without offering any explanation.
Netanyahu now has until December 21 to finalize his coalition.