By Abdul Raouf Arnaout
Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon has called for the withdrawal of his Kulanu Party from Israel’s ruling Likud-led coalition government if Prime Minister and Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu is indicted for corruption.
“If the prime minister goes to trial, we won’t be able to remain in his government," Kahlon said in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2, parts of which were broadcast Thursday night.
In February, Israeli police recommended that Netanyahu be indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit, however, has yet to issue the indictments or say when he will do so.
“According to the law, only the attorney-general can decide whether or not to issue the indictments,” Kahlon said.
“But the prime minister cannot carry out his responsibilities if indictments are brought against him and he goes to trial,” he added.
“If this happens, he will have to leave office or other parties will leave [the coalition],” Kahlon asserted.
According to Israeli media reports, the process of indicting Netanyahu could take months.
Israeli law would not compel the prime minister to resign in the event that he were indicted. Only if he were convicted by court would he technically have to step down.