A bill seeking to ban Benjamin Netanyahu from running again to be prime minister reportedly was dropped Tuesday by the Israel Knesset.
Yevgeny Soba of Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beytenu Party sought a bill to keep a lawmaker charged with a serious crime from becoming prime minister, but it was dropped from the legislation to dissolve the Knesset and hold another election, according to The Times of Israel.
Netanyahu is currently opposing corruption charges in court, making the bill an obvious attempt to ban him from another run to lead Israel, critics told the Times. Liberman admits as much.
"These elections are the result of the intrigues, lies, and harassment of one man, and his name is Benjamin Netanyahu," Liberman said, the Times reported. "The main goal is to prevent him from returning to power.
"It would be possible [to form a lasting government] if not for one man that is concerned only about himself."
Knesset Presidium — the speaker of the Knesset and the speaker's deputies — denied Liberman and Housing Minister Ze'ev Elkin's requests to attach the bill to the dissolving of the Knesset, which is expected to come Wednesday.
Now that bill will have to pass separately — but with the Knesset dissolving soon, time might have run out on it, according to the Times.
Soba and Liberman are still trying to bring it back up separately, but the oft-repeated attempt to block Netanyahu might not be popular enough to pass regardless of running short on time. Critics note a pointed attempt to target a single candidate in Netanyahu.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid announced Monday they are requesting the Knesset to dissolve because the government needs a new election to fully function.
That vote to dissolve the Knesset was moved up to Wednesday, reportedly to keep renegade parties from having enough time to form an alternative government, according to the report.
While the timing of the dissolving of the Knesset will come as soon as Wednesday, the new elections would be expected to come at the end of October, the Times reported.
Meanwhile, Bennett and Lapid would switch roles in the temporary government, making Lapid the prime minister and in charge of Iran policy as the world seeks a new Iran nuclear deal.
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