(CNN) — The Israeli parliament (the Knesset) passed a law Thursday that would limit the cases in which a current prime minister can be declared unfit to take office.
This law is part of a package of laws that the government is introducing to bring about reforms in the judicial system.
The opposition views the bill as providing protection for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing a corruption trial.
The Knesset, by 61 votes to 47, approved the bill, which states that only the prime minister himself or the cabinet, by a two-thirds majority, can declare the prime minister “unfit to perform his duties.”
And the parliament said, in a statement: “After that, the vote of the cabinet must be approved by a supermajority in the Knesset.”
He added that “the power to declare the prime minister unable to carry out his duties will be limited to the government or the Knesset only and will only occur due to physical or mental incapacity.”
The bill also prevents the Supreme Court from considering “a request to declare the prime minister incapable of carrying out the duties of his office.”
The statement stated, “Given that the current prime minister derives his authority from the people through their representatives, the draft law reflects the current concept according to which the dismissal of the prime minister against his will will be determined by the people’s representatives alone.”
In turn, opposition figures have announced plans to challenge the law in the Supreme Court.
Netanyahu’s new far-right government has embarked on controversial plans to reform the justice system by undermining the Supreme Court and weakening judicial oversight over policymaking.
Netanyahu, the first sitting Israeli prime minister to appear in court as a defendant, is being tried on charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery, but he denies any wrongdoing.
As part of a deal with the court to be prime minister even though his trial continues, Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to declare his own no conflicts of interest on judicial reforms, and then the attorney general decided that the declaration meant that Netanyahu could not participate in judicial reform policy-making.
A petition is currently pending before the Supreme Court to declare Netanyahu unfit for office on the grounds that he violated a declaration of non-conflict of interest.
For months, hundreds of thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets regularly to protest the plan to reform the judiciary, saying it will harm democracy, and they have been joined by prominent figures in the fields of security, technology, finance and academia in Israel.
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