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Israel court rules key vote on ministers can proceed

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Israel_mapIsrael’s High Court on Monday said it upheld the new government’s bid to increase the number of ministers, allowing a crucial bill to go before parliament later in the day.

The opposition Yesh Atid party had sought an injunction preventing the first reading of a bill to permit enlargement of the cabinet from its present statutory maximum of 18 ministers, arguing that it was unconstitutional.

The court “rejected the demand by Yesh Atid for an injunction against the amendment to the law”, a court statement said.

Getting the legislation through will be the first test of strength for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s fledgling coalition, which has a razor-thin majority of 61 votes in the 120-seat parliament, the Knesset.

Debate on the first of the bill’s required three readings is expected to begin at 1300 GMT, but opponents of the amendment have pledged to stage filibusters to draw out the process.

“I hope (your reporter) brings a sleeping bag,” Itzik Shmuli of the centre-left Zionist Union told Israeli army radio Monday.

“The opposition will be given time for debate,” Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein told the same radio station.

“I don’t think that this legislation will be completed by tomorrow,” he added.

“There are 59 opposition MPs — I shall give them time both today and tomorrow to express their reservations.”


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