Jerusalem, Jan 3 (EFE).- Israel’s Supreme Court on Wednesday delayed implementing a law that shields prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu from being removed from office over potential conflicts of interest.
The law was passed in March by the country’s parliament, the Knesset, where Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition has a narrow majority.
The coalition had pushed for the amendment to Israel’s constitution – known as the Basic Laws – to prevent the judiciary from finding the prime minister guilty of violating conflict of interest laws and ordering his removal.
Netanyahu, who is facing multiple corruption charges, has simultaneously promoted a controversial judicial reform, which critics say would undermine the independence and authority of the Supreme Court.
The ruling on Wednesday was approved by six out of 11 judges, and says the law will be “postponed until the next Knesset begins its term” after general elections are held and a new prime minister is elected, the court said in a statement.
While not overturning the amendment, the Supreme Court argued in its ruling that it is “clearly personal in nature and constitutes an abuse of authority.”
The Movement for Quality Government in Israel, a civil organization that filed the appeal against the amendment with the Supreme Court, called the ruling a “huge public victory.”
The amendment was “intended for personal purposes and the timing in which it was enacted constitutes an abuse of the constituent authority,” the group said in a statement.
The court’s ruling “contains an important message: the Basic Laws are not a piece of putty” for Netanyahu to change “according to his convenience.”
It is Netanyahu’s second legal defeat this week, after the Supreme Court on Monday struck down a key law in the controversial reforms that would have removed the court’s power to review and overturn government decisions.
Since the judicial reform was announced in January last year, a historic anti-government protest movement – which says the reforms undermines democracy, the separation of powers and minority rights – held massive demonstrations every week.
The weekly nationwide rallies did not stop until the ongoing conflict broke out between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7. EFE