(December 23, 2019 / JNS) Israel’s High Court of Justice on Sunday ordered Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to submit his legal opinion on whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can assemble a government despite the indictments against him.
The court announced that after receiving and approving a petition with 67 signatures demanding a ruling on whether an indicted Knesset member is allowed to form a government, it intends to debate the issue.
Though no date has been set for the court to debate the issue, Mandelblit will be required to offer his legal opinion 48 hours before the court meets.
Until now, Mandelblit has avoided offering his opinion on this question. On Friday, he once again refused to rule on the issue, informing the court that he would only issue a legal opinion on the matter if it were to be taken up by the court, Ynet reported.
Mandelblit formally submitted Netanyahu’s indictment on corruption charges including bribery, breach of trust and fraud on Dec. 2.
The court’s move is bound to affect the chaotic political situation in Israel, where a third election in a one-year span has been set for March 2, 2020, after neither Netanyahu nor Blue and White Party head Benny Gantz were able to cobble together a coalition following the country’s April 9 and Sept. 17 elections.
Netanyahu has announced that he will voluntarily resign from his ministerial posts by Jan. 1. However, while his political opponents have called for him to resign from his role as prime minister, he is not expected to do so.
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