The Knesset passed into law late Tuesday night a bill that allows it to remove a sitting lawmaker from office. According to the so-called ”Dismissal Law”, which passed in a 62 to 45 vote, the Knesset can oust a legislator for incitement to racism and support of armed struggle against the state.
The expulsion requires a majority of 90 lawmakers, while to launch expulsion proceedings, the votes of 70 of the Knesset`s 120 members are required, including 10 lawmakers from the opposition.
Knesset members from the opposition had submitted hundreds of objections to the bill that were set to be discussed into the night, but withdrew them suddenly when it appeared that the coalition, with a majority of 66 MKs, might not have enough legislators present in the plenum Tuesday night to pass the vote, and demanded that the vote be held immediately.
(MK Nissan Slomiansky)
However, the coalition successfully delayed the vote until enough of its lawmakers had arrived to ensure a majority.
Among other tactics used by coalition MKs, Likud Minister Ze’ev Elkin stood at the podium and repeated the phrase: ”Today, it has become clear that the Labor party and Yesh Atid work for [Joint List MK] Hanin Zoabi. You should be ashamed of yourselves.” He did so until a sufficient amount of MKs from the coalition arrived.
Prior to the vote, opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog (Zionist Camp) said ”There will be a big stain on the Knesset if we allow this law to pass.”
At the opening of the debate, Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chairman MK Nissan Slomiansky (HaBayit HaYehudi) presented the bill and said ”The Knesset will no longer be a shroud for terrorism and racism. Members of the Knesset whose paycheck is funded by the state cannot use it to undermine its foundations.”
”If there is an MK who is thinking of being involved with racism, I hope this law will deter him and we will not have to use it,” he added.
MKs from the opposition protested and said the law was racist and targets the Arab population.
Under the law, it will not be possible to dismiss an MK during an election campaign (180 days before Election Day or the day that the Knesset decision to disperse.
The impeachment proceedings would begin with a request which shall be submitted to the Knesset Speaker. The Speaker will pass the request to the Knesset Committee for discussion. Approval of the application will require the support of a majority of three-quarters of the members of the committee. After the approval of the committee, the request will be forwarded for final approval of the Knesset plenum.