Israel’s attorney general: Netanyahu not required to resign
Jerusalem – Israel’s attorney general said Monday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not required to leave office following his indictment on corruption charges, giving a small boost to the embattled leader.
Avichai Mandelblit said in a statement that Netanyahu can remain interim prime minister, just days after serving him with charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery.
Netanyahu faces calls from his opponents to step down following the indictment. Mandelblit’s opinion confirmed what had been a consensus legal view that an indicted prime minister may remain in office while fighting criminal charges.
Israeli law requires other public officials, including Cabinet ministers, to resign if charged with a crime.
The attorney general did not weigh in on whether Netanyahu could keep his other ministerial positions while under indictment. Netanyahu also holds the agriculture, labor and welfare, health and diaspora affairs portfolios.
Netanyahu, Israel’s longest serving prime minister, has dismissed the charges as an “attempted coup” and refused to resign. He says he will fight the charges from the prime minister’s office.
The indictment comes at a delicate time following the failure by both Netanyahu and his chief rival, former military chief Benny Gantz, to secure a parliamentary majority and form a new government.
If a government is not formed by Dec. 11, Israel will be forced to hold elections for the third time in a 12-month period.