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What is the "Norwegian Law" in Israel?

The Norwegian Law been a source of controversy in Israeli politics

A plenum session in the Knesset – the Israeli parliament, Dec. 29, 2022. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The “Norwegian law” – initially referred to as the Mini-Norwegian Law – is an amendment to the Basic Law, where the Knesset allows a minister to resign and be replaced by the next candidate on the party list. If the minister is fired or resigns, he or she would reclaim their place in the Knesset and the substitute would no longer serve as a lawmaker.

The law – based on a similar system in Norway – passed as a temporary order in 2015, initially limited each party to one resignation and replacement. The amendment was approved by the Knesset by a vote of 64–51 on July 30, 2015.

An expanded version of the law, which allowed all ministers to resign and be replaced, was passed on June 15, 2020 by a vote of 66–43. It allowed parties with 10 seats or more to replace five seats, parties with seven to nine seats to replace four seats, and parties with four to six seats to replace up to three seats.

The Norwegian Law has been a source of controversy in Israeli politics, with both coalition and opposition groups protesting its use and, yet, using it when in power.

The law was designed to allow a Knesset member who is appointed to a ministerial position to “give up” their Knesset seat in order to focus on their ministerial duties. Proponents have argued that ministers lack the necessary time to fulfill both legislative and executive roles properly. Critics have argued that it places an unnecessary financial burden on the government.

On Jan. 5, 2023, Netanyahu’s coalition filed a proposal to expand the Norwegian Law to allow parties with 18 or more seats to replace up to one-third of their seats in order to serve as ministers or deputy ministers.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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