Thursday, September 18, 2008

Scorecard On The Israeli Election--For Those Watching At Home

Media Backspin gives the basic procedure:
1. Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert formally gives his and the cabinet's resignation to President Shimon Peres. Olmert and his cabinet formally take on caretaker status.

2. The president consults with leaders of the political parties in the parliament and chooses one to form a new coalition. As leader of the ruling party, Livni is expected to get the nod for prime minister-designate.

3. The PM-designate will have 28 days to form a new coalition approved by the Knesset. The president customarily gives the PM-designate a 14-day extension, if necessary.

4. If Livni cannot form a coalition, the president can either appoint a new PM-designate from among the leaders of the other parties, or dissolve the the Knesset. The new PM-designate would have the same time frame to form a coalition. If the Knesset is dissolved, a general election is held within 90 days. The winning party is invited to form a new coalition and the process starts all over again.

5. No matter how long it takes, Olmert continues as caretaker prime minister until the Knesset approves a new coalition.
But of course nothing proceeds quite the way you expect--from IMRA:

Israel Radio broadcast the following clarification in its hourly news
bulletin at 6 PM:

"Our state affairs correspondent Shmuel Tal notes that on Wednesday [AL: 24
September] Olmert will convene the Security Cabinet. He will continue to
convene the Government until a different government is formed."

It would appear from Tal's report that he may have infomation that Ehud
Olmert does not intend to exercise 16(b) of Basic Law: The Government, in
tandem with resigning under 19 of the same law. There is nothing in the law
preventing Olmert from causing Livni to immediately be prime minister by both resigning and stating that he is temporarily unable to discharge his duties.

The following is the relevant law:

Basic Law: The Government (2001)

16. (b) Should the Prime Minister be temporarily unable to discharge his
duties, his place will be filled by the Acting Prime Minister. After the
passage of 100 days upon which the Prime Minister does not resume his
duties, the Prime Minister will be deemed permanently unable to exercise his
19. The Prime Minister may, after notifying the Government of his intention
to do so, resign by submitting a letter of resignation to the President of
the State. The resignation of the Prime Minister shall be deemed to be the
resignation of the Government.

Does Olmert really think that the longer he stays the more likely he will find a way to make progress with Abbas and redeem his name?

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