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Defying High Court, Edelstein says he won’t hold vote on new Knesset speaker

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein informs the High Court of Justice that he will not honor its position that he should hold a vote on electing a new Knesset speaker by Wednesday.

“I won’t agree to ultimatums,” Edelstein says in a statement.

Yuli Edelstein, the Knesset Speaker, Monday night rejected the Supreme Court’s order to call a a vote on the opposition motion to unseat him on Wednesday.

He challenged the court’s right to intervene inn the Speaker’s authority for setting the plenum’s agenda. He said that ordering him to call a vote on the opposition motion to oust him was “unwarranted interference and an undesirable precedent for these times.”

Therefore, said Edelstein, “I cannot meet your ultimatum, since its significance is that the Knesset agenda is determined by the court – not the Speaker.”

In view of the special circumstances, said Edelstein “I find it hard at this moment to set a precise date, but I intend placing this vote on the Knesset agenda when the political situation is clarified.

“The intervention of the attorney general in an internal parliamentary process of the Knesset is out of place.”

Previously, Supreme Court justices ordered Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) to state by Monday at 5:00 p.m. whether by Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. he will schedule a vote for the election of a new Knesset Speaker in his stead.

The court implied that if Edelstein refused this order, it would endorse the opposition Kahol Lavan petition for his ouster.

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) condemned the supreme court for seeking to outweigh the legislature and making it a rubber stamp. He stressed that only the Speaker was entitled to convene the Knesset and run its affairs and urged MK Edelstein to defy the order and stand by the power a democracy vested in him alone.