Israeli High Court vote paves way for Netanyahu coalition government

Court rejected arguments that Likud leader's corruption indictment disqualifies him from government


The Israeli High Court has thrown out petitions citing Benjamin Netanyahu indictment for corruption as a reason to prevent him from forming a goverment, opening the door for a Knesset vote on his Likud Party’s coalition agreement with Benny Gantz’s Blue and White.

The Knesset voted on Thursday morning to amend Israel’s basic laws, the country’s de facto constitution, enabling the coalition agreement to go ahead.

Likud and Blue and White are planning a swearing-in ceremony on May 13.

The High Court’s 11 justices voted unanimously to reject petitions that sought to block criminally indicted lawmakers from forming a government, which would have sunk the coalition agreement .

On Wednesday night, the High Court found that there was no justification for any intervention that would prevent Mr Netanyahu from being tasked with forming a government.

Mr Netanyahu's trial in three corruption cases is due to begin on May 24.

The High Court accepted however, that there were “serious difficulties” arising from controversial clauses in the coalition agreement and was strongly critical of Mr Netanyahu’s continued premiership.

In its judgment, the justices wrote: “The legal conclusions we reached does not diminish the severity of the pending charges against MK Netanyahu for violations of moral integrity and the difficulty derived from the tenure of a prime minister accused of criminal activities.”

The court also said that Tuesday’s announcement by Blue and White and Likud that they would seek to amend problematic clauses in the coalition agreement contributed to its decision. The agreement includes controversial clauses, including one that could see ministers give up their Knesset seats in favour of others – but not according to the order in which they appeared on each party’s electoral list.

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