In Israel’s difficult cabinet formation, it is likely that there will be a coalition without the current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israeli media reported that Naftali Bennett of the far-right party, Yasser Lapid, of the Center Party, will commit himself to opposition leader Yasser Lapid of the Center Party, Yesh Atid. The goal would be to create a diverse coalition from left to right to put Netanyahu aside in twelve years.
Bennett today informed his party members of the selection, and garnered their unanimous support, according to the party statement. There will be an agreement with Lapid over the rotating premiership. Bennett, the right-wing, will be prime minister for a period of two years, after which the centrist politician Lapid will become prime minister for the next two years. Bennett makes a statement at 8 pm local time (7 pm Belgian time).
The elections held on March 23, the fourth in two years, did not reveal a clear majority, so it appears that the attempt to form a government, like the previous three governments, has failed. Netanyahu failed to form a new government, after which President Reuven Rivlin passed the mandate to Lapid at the beginning of this month. And his party is the second largest after Netanyahu, Likud. Lapid has already had support from center-left parties.
Lapid aims to form a diverse coalition of left, right and center parties united against Netanyahu, who is accused of corruption. The question is whether this aversion is sufficient, given that the two sides have very different views. The minority government will also need the support of the 10 Arab representatives in the Knesset. According to Israeli media, it is possible to reach a coalition agreement tomorrow.
Netanyahu, 71, tried to prevent the alliance against him this afternoon by putting forward a new proposal himself. He wants another right-wing politician, Gideon Saar, to serve as prime minister for the first 15 months, after which Netanyahu takes power again for two years, and Bennett will finally serve the remainder of the term. Sarr promptly refused this offer. “Our position remains the same: ending Netanyahu’s policy.”
Netanyahu’s Likud party issued an angry press statement this afternoon accusing Bennett of wanting to become prime minister “at any cost.” “The only thing consistent with him is the way he deceives his and other right-wing voters, and how he throws his principles in the trash just to become prime minister.”
Lapid’s mandate to form the government will last until midnight on Wednesday. According to the law, Israelis must return to the polls if a coalition government does not take off before Thursday.
Netanyahu was Prime Minister of Israel from 1996 to 1999 and again without interruption since 2009.
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