To avert 5th elections, block Lapid, right-wing parties float direct vote for PM


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To avert 5th elections, block Lapid, right-wing parties float direct vote for PM
Bennett reportedly convinces Netanyahu to back proposal; Likud leader hopes that, with Yamina’s support, legislation will pass Knesset
By Raoul Wootliff
18 April 2021

A new effort to reintroduce direct elections for prime minister is reportedly being advanced by right-wing party leaders in a bid to break the political logjam, block Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid’s path to the premiership, and prevent a fifth consecutive Knesset election. The proposal was raised by Shas chairman Aryeh Deri and brought to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the weekend by Yamina head Naftali Bennett, Channel 12 reported Sunday, adding that the Likud leader was convinced to back the idea.

The proposal would see a special election held for Israelis to pick the next prime minister. There would not be another election for the Knesset, after the vote held last month. A similar proposal was floated amid political deadlock after the September 2019 elections, and went nowhere. While a direct election for prime minister would automatically determine who would form the government, it would not change the coalition arithmetic, and the winner would still need to form a coalition from the same parties elected in March.

Netanyahu has consistently polled as the most preferred candidate for the position of premier, even though his numbers are well below 50 percent. According to Channel 12, Netanyahu is hoping that with Bennett’s support for the initiative, it will have a majority to pass as a law in the Knesset, and is even pushing for it to be introduced in parliament as early as this week.