While Israel prepares itself for the Legislative Elections that is to be held on 9 April, Israel’s Attorney-General Avichai Mandelbilt announced plans to indict Israel PM Benyamin Netanyahu on several charges of fraud, bribery and breach of trust. PM Netanyahu is entitled to a hearing before the official decision on his indiction. Although he may not be prosecuted, it has already casted a shroud of mistrust around him. This will undeniably affect his chances of securing a parliamentary majority, a scenario which was widely expected to be the outcome of this election prior to the announcement of this intention for indictment. Polls taken from political think-tanks have already revealed that voters are swaying to support the newly formed political party, the Blue and White party, led by former Israeli Defence Force Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz.
What happens next?
PM Netanyahu has publicly expressed that he will step down as PM if he is convicted of these criminal charges. It is widely expected that this legal process will take months of court hearings before its conclusion. Even if PM Netanyahu wins the 9 April elections, he cannot evade the spectre of legal proceedings which haunts his hold on power, unless he is ultimately cleared of these allegations. While it remains to be seen how the Israelis will respond as more evidence to support the indictment gets interpreted and publicised, the present outlook for Netanyahu is optimistic, with most right-leaning parties still in favour of his governmental leadership.