Israel’s top court Monday heard challenges to PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s bid to secure a governing coalition, with opposition figures arguing an agreement on a new unity administration would unlawfully shield him in a corruption trial.
The Supreme Court’s 11-justice panel convened for a second day after hearing separate petitions Sunday against Netanyahu’s authority to shape a government given his indictment on charges of bribery, fraud, and violation of trust.
Judgments are expected to come out by Thursday. Should the court discover against Netanyahu on either front, it would possibly trigger a snap election – the fourth since April 2019 – as the nation battles the coronavirus crisis and its economic downturn.
Netanyahu and his main competitor Benny Gantz signed an agreement in March to form a unity government under which they’d take turns leading Israel after their three, inconclusive ballot runs.
In power for over a decade and currently head of a caretaker government, right-wing Netanyahu would serve as PM of a new administration for 18 months before handing over the reins to centrist Gantz, based on the unity agreement.
Netanyahu, 70, would then assume the role of substitute prime minister, which some analysts say would exclude him from a law that requires cabinet-level ministers to resign from public office if they’re indicted on criminal charges.