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Likud Pulls Parliamentary Move to Delay Vote on Election Bill

July 13, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Laborites complained of “a dirty trick.” But Likud claimed it followed the rules Tuesday when it called a sudden vote in the Knesset’s House Committee on a controversial election bill.

The measure would hold general elections and municipal elections on separate dates. It is supported by the Labor Party and the various religious factions, but strongly opposed by Likud.

The bill passed its first reading last month and has been stuck since then in the House Committee, which is chaired by Micha Reiser of Likud. Knesset Speaker Shlomo Hillel, a Laborite, ordered Monday that the committee vote without delay to bring it to the plenum.

Hillel was reviled from the Likud benches. Reiser acted. As the committee’s Labor members left, believing the session was about to end, he held a quick vote. The result was to shift the bill to the Law and Justice Committee, which also has a Likud chairman, Eliezer Kulas.

This allows further foot-dragging, which could keep the measure off the floor until the Knesset adjourns for summer recess.

Reiser said he “acted within the rules,” noting his promise Monday to “bring the issue to a vote before next week.”

To which Labor Knesset member Shevah Weiss remarked, “Maybe it was within the rules, but it was morally reprehensible.”

Laborite and religious party members want to separate the municipal elections from the Knesset elections to avoid local mayoral and town council candidates from getting elected on Likud’s coattails.

As matters now stand, Labor and the religious parties control more municipalities than is reflected by their strength in the Knesset. They believe they can keep and enlarge their advantage if the voters do not have to cast local ballots at the same time they are choosing Knesset candidates.

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