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Israel’s parliamentary speaker resigns before court deadline on vote

Israeli parliamentary speaker Yuli Edelstein announced Wednesday that he would be resigning, after facing pressure from the opposition and a deadline from the Supreme Court.

Israeli parliamentary speaker Yuli Edelstein announced Wednesday that he would be resigning, after facing pressure from the opposition and a deadline from the Supreme Court.

His unexpected announcement opens the way for a vote to elect his successor, for which the court had set a Wednesday deadline.

However, because the resignation won’t take effect for 48 hours, the vote is now expected to be held next week, despite the court’s order.

Edelstein, a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, had blasted the court’s interference in matters of the Knesset and said that they had undermined democratic principles.

“The high court’s decision constitutes a gross and arrogant interference by the judiciary in the affairs of the elected legislature,” said Edelstein while announcing his resignation.

He had blocked a scheduled vote to elect his replacement last week, dismissing parliament before it could take place.

Blue and White want to replace Edelstein with one of their own, but Netanyahu has threatened that such a move would prompt his party to pull out of power-sharing talks to form a unity government.

In a bid to end the crisis, Israel‘s highest court Monday set the deadline for a vote.

Edelstein dismissed the “ultimatum” at the time, and several Likud members, including Israel‘s justice minister, supported him in ignoring the ruling.

Israel is forming a new government after months of uncertainty and three inconclusive elections, the latest of which on March 2.

But the stand-off between the right-wing and religious bloc surrounding Netanyahu and the center-left camp around Benny Gantz of the Blue and White alliance continues.

Gantz received the order to form a government earlier this month.

In light of the coronavirus crisis, Netanyahu has called for the formation of an emergency government with the Blue and White.

However, talks to that effect have been thus far unsuccessful.

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