Final possible date for election – March 16 or 23

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Gantz: Elections to be cheap, fast and clean as possible
Benny Gantz
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz vowed on Monday to ensure that the next election will be held in March and not in May or June, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prefers, because coronavirus vaccines are expected to be readily available.

The head of the Central Elections Committee, attorney Orly Ades, is set to tell the Knesset State Control Committee on Tuesday that 90 days are necessary to prepare for an election that will be complicated by the coronavirus. The Knesset will disperse automatically when no state budget is passed by December 23, which would automatically result in a March 23 election.

The only remaining way for the Knesset dispersal bill advanced by Blue and White to set a different date is if it can be legislated by next week with a March 16 election date.

Gantz gained control over setting the date of the election on Monday morning, when the Knesset House Committee, which is headed by Blue and White faction chairman Eitan Ginzburg, voted to give itself the right to legislate the Knesset dispersal bill.  The committee’s proceedings will begin on Tuesday morning.

“If Netanyahu really does not get his act together, and he drags us to elections, I will make sure that they will be conducted as inexpensively as possible, as fast as possible and as clean as possible,” Gantz told his Blue and White faction.

To that end, Gantz intends to cut party funding and add rules for digital campaigning to the Knesset dispersal bill that enjoys a majority and is expected to pass in two weeks.

Gantz told Blue and White activists in the Knesset that “Israel is on the way to elections and I don’t know who can still stop them.”

Netanyahu told the Likud faction that he still hoped elections could be prevented, but if Blue and White made them happen, Likud would win.

Earlier Monday in a meeting of the House Committee, the Likud and Blue and White fought over which committee would legislate the Knesset dispersal bill.

Blue and White wanted the legislation to take place in the House Committee. The Likud preferred the Knesset Law and Constitution Committee, which is headed by United Torah Judaism MK Yakov Asher. Ginzburg said he researched the issue, and found that the Law Committee handled Knesset dispersal bills until 25 years ago – but since then, it has been done in the House Committee.

“It is wrong to break tradition,” Ginzburg said.

The Likud, Shas and UTJ boycotted the vote to protest Blue and White’s support for dispersing the Knesset and because they lacked a majority. The same parties later boycotted no-confidence votes in the plenum, allowing the bills to pass.

Likud faction chairman Miki Zohar told Ginzburg: “It’s not too late to avoid elections, which would be dangerous to conduct during the coronavirus crisis.”

Ginzburg responded that the Likud cannot preach to Blue and White, because it wants elections to be held in July after coronavirus vaccines will be available, in order to help Netanyahu.

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