Coalition Chairman Ofir Katz’s proposal for the Incapacitation law passed in committee on Monday, and will go to the Knesset plenum for its first vote today.
The proposal states that the Prime Minister can only be declared incapacitated on the basis of physical or mental incapacity. The determination of incapacitation will be determined either by a notice from the Prime Minister to the Speaker of the Knesset or by a notice from the government with a majority of 75%, which will then require the approval of the Knesset plenum with a majority of 90 members of the Knesset.
Coalition Chairman Ofir Katz said, “What we are doing here now is preserving democracy, we will not allow a legal actors in the State of Israel make a coup d’état. What the citizens of Israel have chosen is what decides.”
According to the Knesset website, the term “incapacitated” describes a situation in which a government official cannot fulfill his duties for certain reasons. The lack of ability to fulfill these duties can be temporary if the office bearer will return to fulfill his position, or permanent if it is clear that the office bearer will not return to fulfill his duties.
Regarding the incapacity of the Prime Minister, Article 16 of the Basic Law: The government establishes instructions regarding the filling of the position of the Prime Minister. According to section (a), if the prime minister is absent from the country, his deputy will call the government meetings and preside over them. According to section (b), if the Prime Minister is temporarily unable to fulfill his duties, the Acting Prime Minister will take his place. If 100 consecutive days have passed in which the acting prime minister served instead of the prime minister, the prime minister is considered to be permanently prevented from fulfilling his duties. According to Article 20(b) of the Basic Law, if the Prime Minister is prevented from fulfilling his duties permanently, the government is considered to have resigned on the 101st day on which the Acting Prime Minister holds office.
Katz’s bill is in response to reports that Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara has been preparing to declare Prime Minister Netanyahu incapacitated, on the basis of her previously declaring that he has a conflict of interest regarding the judicial reform proposals. The logic goes, since she decided that Netanyahu is not allowed to be involved in even discussing judicial reform, he is incapable of continuing on as prime minister as he cannot fulfill his duties.