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Lapid Suspends MK for Abstaining During Knesset Vote

MK Adi Koll went with her conscience and abstained on the Governance Bill, angering Lapid who suspended her.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/1/2013, 5:44 AM

MK Adi Koll
MK Adi Koll
Flash 90

MK Adi Koll (Yesh Atid) decided to go with her conscience on Wednesday evening and chose to abstain during the vote in the Knesset on the Governance Bill.

Koll’s ignoring coalition discipline, however, caused the chairman of her party, Finance Minister Yair Lapid to suspend her from parliamentary activity.

Koll abstained in the vote on the first section of the law, angering Lapid. She then apologized for her actions, writing on her Facebook page, "Today I abstained in the vote on Governance Bill. It was a decision which mainly affected the other members of my party, and I apologize."

In the subsequent vote on the second section of the law, Koll voted in favor, but Lapid, who was not satisfied with her apology and subsequent vote in favor, ordered the chairman of Yesh Atid’s Knesset faction, MK Ofer Shelah, to inform Koll that she is suspended from parliamentary activity until further notice.

MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz) criticized Yesh Atid for sanctioning Koll, saying, “You forced her using blackmail and threats to apologize - this is your new politics? Until now I opposed you. Now I have disdain for you."

In response to Yesh Atid’s move, Labor party chairwoman MK Shelly Yechimovich and the chairman of the Labor Knesset faction, MK Yitzchak Herzog, announced that they would provide Koll with a quota so she can submit Knesset bills through the Labor party whenever she wishes.

"We will honor any request by MK Koll to propose private bills at the expense of the Labor party’s quota because we respect her worldview and because we feel disgusted by her being silenced," said Yechimovich and Herzog.

The Governance Bill, the first reading of which was approved Wednesday, will change Israel’s system of government by limiting the number of ministers in a government to 19, including the Prime Minister, and limiting the number of deputy ministers to four. Ministers would be required to hold one, and only one, portfolio.

The law would also limit no-confidence votes to one a month, with exceptions made for no-confidence motions that have been signed by at least 61 MKs.

It would also give the government 100 days after the elections, in place of the current 45, to approve the national budget.

Perhaps the most controversial part of the law is a clause raising the threshold to enter Knesset to four percent of the national vote – up from two percent. The change would have kept some current Knesset factions out.

Members of Knesset who opposed the Governance Bill chose an unusual way to express their anger. Instead of continuing the passionate debate over the bill, they chose to use their three minutes on the Knesset podium to protest with silence.