Speaker of the Knesset (Israel's parliament) Yuli Edelstein announced a sudden resignation on Wednesday, hours before a deadline set by the Supreme Court for him to elect a successor.
"I hereby resign from my position as speaker of the Knesset," Edelstein, a prominent member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, said in a resignation speech to the Knesset.
Edelstein argued that the court decision "destroys the work of the Knesset".
"The Supreme Court decision constitutes a gross and arrogant intervention of the judiciary in the affairs of the elected legislature. The Supreme Court decision infringes on the sovereignty of the Knesset," he said in remarks quoted by The Times of Israel daily.
"I won't agree to ultimatums,” Edelstein said. “I can't agree because this means that the Knesset’s agenda will be determined by the Supreme Court and not by the Speaker of the Knesset."
Edelstein had previously rejected a request by the Israeli opposition to schedule a session to elect a new Knesset speaker.
The opposition, however, obtained a decision by the Israeli Supreme Court obliging Edelstein to hold election until Wednesday.
Israeli opposition has 61 seats out of 120 seats in the Knesset, enabling it to choose a new speaker from outside of the Likud party, which has been dominating the Knesset for years.