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Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Background: Basic Law and Resignation of Prime Minister - clarification

Background: Basic Law and Resignation of Prime Minister
Dr. Aaron Lerner IMRA 30 July 2008

While Prime Minister Olmert clearly stated that he would resign after the
election of a new Kadima head in the upcoming Kadima primaries, Israel Radio
has been broadcasting the following clarification in its hourly news
bulletins starting with the 9 PM news:

"Our state affairs correspondent Shmuel Tal clarifies that the person who is
elected to head Kadima will be asked to form a government and until he
succeeds in doing it Olmert will continue to serve as prime minister. If
the new chairman of Kadima fails to form a government Olmert will serve as
prime minister until after the coming general elections."

The timeline according to Basic Law: The Government (2001):

New Kadima chairman elected => Olmert resigns => President assigns task of
forming new government to an MK (new Kadima chairman) =>
Scenario #1 new coalition formed
Scenario #2 new coalition can't be formed => current government and PM
remain in power until new governmetn formed following snap elections held 90
days after attempts to form coalition fail.

Basic Law: The Government (2001)

7 Mar 2001
www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/2000_2009/2001/3/Basic%20Law-%20The%20Government%20-2001-

Basic Law: The Government (2001)

7 Mar 2001

Resignation of Prime Minister.

19. The Prime Minister may, after notifying the Government of his intention
to do so, resign by submitting a letter of resignation to the President of
the State. The resignation of the Prime Minister shall be deemed to be the
resignation of the Government.

Continuity of Government.

30. (a) When a new Knesset has been elected or the Government has resigned
under sections 18, 19, 20, 21 or 29, or if a request is submitted under
section 29(b), the President of the State shall begin proceedings for the
formation of a new Government, as laid out in this Basic Law.
(b) When a new Knesset has been elected or the Government has resigned
(sections 18, 19, 20, 21 or 29), the outgoing Government shall continue to
carry out its functions until the new Government is constituted.
(c) A Prime Minister who has resigned shall continue to carry out his
functions pending the constitution of the new Government.

Assignment of task of forming Government.

7. (a) When a new Government has to be constituted, the President of the
State shall, after consultation with representatives of party groups in the
Knesset, assign the task of forming a Government to a Knesset Member who has
notified him that he is prepared to accept the task; the President shall do
so within seven days of the publication of the election results, or should
the need arise to form a new government; and in the case of the death of the
Prime Minister, within 14 days of his death.

Periods for formation of Government.

8. The Knesset Member to whom the President has assigned the task of forming
a Government under section 7 shall have a period of 28 days for the
fulfilment of such task. The President of the State may extend the period by
additional periods not exceeding in the aggregate 14 days.

Re-assignment of task.

9. (a) Where the periods referred to in section 8 have passed and the
Knesset Member has not notified the President of the State that he has
formed a Government, or where he has notified him before then that he is
unable to form a Government, or where he presented a Government and the
Knesset rejected his request for confidence under section 13(d), the
President may assign the task of forming a Government to another Knesset
Member who has notified him that he is prepared to accept the task, or may
inform the Speaker of the Knesset that he sees no possibility of forming a
Government - all within three days from the end of the period, or from the
day of the Knesset member's statement that he cannot form a government, or
from the rejection of confidence in the Government, as applicable.

(b) Before assigning the task of forming a Government under this section, or
before he informs the Speaker of the Knesset that he sees no possibility of
forming a Government, the President may again consult with representatives
of factions in the Knesset.

(c) A Knesset Member to whom the task of forming a Government has been
assigned under this section shall have 28 days in which to do so.

Assignment of task at the request of party groups.

10. (a) Where the President of the State has informed the Speaker of the
Knesset, under section 9(a) that he sees no possibility of forming a
Government, or where he has assigned the task of forming a Government to a
Knesset Member under the same section and the Knesset Member has not
notified him within 28 days that he has formed a Government, or has notified
him before then that he is unable to form a Government, or presented a
Government and the Knesset rejected his request for confidence under section
13(d), a majority of the members of the Knesset may request, in writing,
that the President of the State assign the task to a particular member of
the Knesset, who so agreed in writing, all within 21 days of the President's
announcement, or from the end of the period designated in section 9(c), or
from the statement by the Knesset Member that he cannot form a Government,
or from the rejection of confidence in the Government, as relevant.

(b) Where a request as aforesaid has been submitted to the President, the
President shall assign the task of forming a Government to that Knesset
Member within two days.

(c) A Knesset Member to whom the task of forming a Government has been
assigned under this section shall have a period of fourteen days for its
fulfilment.

Early elections in the event of failure to form a government.

11. (a) Should no request be submitted under section 10(a), or should a
Knesset Member fail to form a Government within the period defined in
section 10(c), or if he should prior to that time inform the President that
he cannot form a Government, the President shall so inform the Knesset
Speaker.

(b) Should the President so inform the Knesset Speaker, or should a Knesset
Member charged with forming a Government under section 10(a) present a
Government and fail to win the confidence of the Knesset under section
13(d), then the Knesset shall be deemed to have decided to disperse prior to
the completion of its period of service, and elections for the Knesset will
be held on the last Tuesday before the end of 90 days of the President's
announcement, or of the rejection of the request for confidence in the
Government, as relevant.

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