Defense Minister Benny Gantz's Blue & White party on Tuesday announced that it will not take part in a Knesset vote Wednesday on a bill that would prevent anyone on trial for serious crimes from forming a future government.
The legislation effectively prevents Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is currently on trial for fraud, bribery and breach of trust, from leading the country after the next elections, should he be in a position to do so.
“Our fundamental position on the subject hasn’t changed and won’t change, however, bringing it to a vote at this time is simply and purely an attempt to destabilize the entire political system," Blue & White said in a statement.
"In the throes of one of the most severe crises in the nation’s history, we are choosing to do everything to prevent elections, which would be harmful to the economy and which would tear the fabric of Israeli society to bits," the statement said.
The statement also called for the government to pass a biennial state budget, as laid out in the coalition agreement between the two parties.
"Now is the time to approve a long-term budget, which will give the public some economic certainty, which is simply critical," Blue & White said. "History will judge anyone who behaves otherwise as having acted to their own benefit, in opposition to the needs of the Israeli public.”
Lapid's Yesh Atid-Telem party the said they expected Blue & White to support the motion, in line with the party's campaign promises.
Yisrael Beytenu chair Avigdor Liberman and the right-wing Yamina party, headed by former Netanyahu ally Naftali Bennett, have already voiced their support for the proposal.