He Israeli Parliament preliminarily approved this Wednesday two new bills who are looking for a judicial reform. Both are promoted by the Government of Benjamin Netanyahuin what constitutes his most recent step in the plan of “Supreme Court invalidation”despite the calls for dialogue and consensus requested by the opposition and part of the international community.
Netanyahu and his nationalist and orthodox allies seek the green light on a series of laws aimed at limit the authority of the Supreme Court, which they say has exercised unrestricted power for years. However, a vast group of critics has warned that this plan will erode democratic norms, concentrate power in the ruling coalition and turn the country into an intolerant democracy.
Specifically, the first of the two proposals, validated with the support of 62 of the seats, seeks to grant immunity to new legislation even if it contradicts what is established in the Basic Laws of Israel, with constitutional rank. Thanks to this, the Chamber could promulgate laws with a simple majority of deputies without the need for the Supreme Court – the highest judicial body in the country – to have the capacity to intervene. Also, as detailed by a parliamentary spokesman to the news agency EFEthe Court could not annul norms or modify them.
On the other hand, it would allow a simple majority of parliamentarians -61 out of 120- to to legislate avoiding the control of the Judiciarywhich would result in fewer attributions to Justice.
The second project is intended to allow the reinstatement of Orthodox Shas party leader Aryeh Deri, in the position of Minister of Health and Interior. Weeks ago, the Supreme Court had ordered the cancellation of his appointment due to the multiple convictions for corruption that he faces.
This proposal was approved with 62 votes against 53 and if the final green light is obtained, it would eliminate the possibility of the Supreme Court vetoing ministerial appointments.
In any case, both projects must be discussed by parliamentary committees to, later, be submitted to a vote in three additional readings in full parliament. Only then can they be definitively approved as laws.
Today’s steps took place after, this Monday, Parliament also approved in the first of three instances two other laws. One of them seeks to grant the Government a majority in the judge selection committee while the other pretends restrict the capacity of the Supreme Court to review and change legislation.
These Netanyahu initiatives have generated a strong rejection in the society that on multiple occasions has taken to the streets to demonstrate. Thus, this Monday a massive protest took place in front of the Chamber, added to the past ones in Tel Aviv, in which more than 100,000 people were concentrated. From abroad, many people have also expressed their rejection of the projects.
Inclusive, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, has urged Israel to put an end to these laws as it considers that the proposed changes “would drastically undermine the ability of the judiciary to vindicate individual rights and uphold the rule of law”, which Netanyahu considered an “absurdity”. He also accused him of bias.
(With information from EFE, AFP and AP)
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