Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon has told several people in the past few days that he is planning on retiring from politics. It is unclear whether Kahlon meant that he would resign as minister of finance or would withdraw his name from the Likud Party's Knesset candidate list. In any case, the timing of his statements at a time when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is about to face primaries for leadership of the Likud and the Knesset is about to be dissolved under the Basic Law: The Government indicates that one of the leading people around the prime minister is leaving him.
Kahlon, who headed the Kulanu Party in recent years and as minister of finance backed social reforms, was very disappointed by the result of the elections for the 21st Knesset, in which his party gained only four Knesset seats. Despite frequent statements that he would not join the Likud and would not allow the prime minister to continue in office under indictment after a hearing, Kahlon remained steadfast at Netanyahu's side in recent months, and voted in favor of dissolving the 21st Knesset in May.
If he resigns in the coming days, Kahlon will be fulfilling his promise not to serve with a prime minister under indictment after a hearing. Kahlon's plans are unclear at this stage, but he will probably take a lucrative a job in the private sector.
If Kahlon resigns, the law states that Netanyahu will become minister of finance by default. Netanyahu is already minister of health; minister of agriculture and rural development; minister of labor, social affairs, and social services; and minister of Diaspora affairs. The question arose in recent weeks of whether Netanyahu is obligated to resign from these ministerial positions under the Deri-Pinhasi precedent, which states that a minister against whom an indictment has been filed must resign. By law, this rule does not apply to the prime minister. The attorney general has not yet ordered Netanyahu to resign from these other positions.
"Globes" asked Kahlon for a response on these matters, but has not yet received an answer.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 4, 2019
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