The prospect of a unity government was fading Tuesday after Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein refused to commit to a date for a vote on his replacement and after the High Court instructed him to bring the matter to a vote by Wednesday at the latest.
Likud ministers fumed over Blue & White's intention to replace the speaker with a member of their own party despite threats to discontinue unity talks.
Blue & White party members were equally outraged at what they saw as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's efforts to keep Edelstein in the Speaker's chair while trampling on the court and in disregard for its authority.
Edelstein has yet to announce his decisions after the High Court's unanimous ruling Monday but had earlier said that the high court was intervening in an unprecedented way in the Knesset time-table in a politically motivated manner," increasing the tensions between the prime minister's political camp and the judicial system.
The right-wing and religious parties hailed the speaker's refusal to name a date for the vote though some, including former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and leading members of Likud who were critical of the court's "interference", said its rulings must be upheld.
Political sources say there have been no talks on a unity government. between the two main Knesset factions since Thursday of last week.
Blue & White leader Benny Gantz called on Netanyahu to speak out against his allies' attack on the High Court asking the Prime Minister, "why are you remaining silent?"
Chief Justice Esther Hayut wrote in the court's ruling: " The continued refusal to allow for a full vote in the Knesset for the election of a permanent Knesset Speaker undercuts the foundations of the democratic process."
First published: 09:32, 03.24.20