Israel‘s embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, facing criminal charges and a new general election, will resign from all other ministerial positions he holds but remain the premier, his lawyers said on Thursday.
The announcement to the country’s Supreme Court came the same morning as parliament dissolved itself and set a date for a new election, the third within a year.
— Jesmond Saliba (@SalibaJes) December 12, 2019
The court had received a petition from the Movement for Quality Government in Israel (MQG) demanding that Netanyahu, who is also minister of agriculture, diaspora, health, and welfare, step down from all his positions in light of his indictments.
Attorney general Avichai Mandelblit last month charged Netanyahu with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in three different corruption cases.
Israeli law stipulates that ministers facing criminal charges resign, but has no such provision for prime ministers.
Israeli PM Netanyahu RESIGNS all ministerial roles EXCEPT as PM (he was holding 4 other ministry portfolios): https://t.co/1D3uQsCBgO
— Yonah Jeremy Bob (@jeremybob1) December 12, 2019
Following the petition, Mandelblit said that while Netanyahu could not be forced to resign as premier, the issue of his ministerial positions would be addressed later.
In the Thursday submission to the court, Netanyahu’s legal team said:
“He will cease being a minister by January 1, 2020, and appoint other ministers instead. The prime minister will continue to be prime minister, as per the law”.
A new election was called for March 2, after neither Netanyahu nor his centrist rival Benny Gantz managed to form a majority coalition following the September vote.
(Al Jazeera, PC, Social Media)