Netanyahu’s opponents want to form a new government

Israelis have voted four times in the past two years. Again and again the votes resulted in a stalemate. Now Netanyahu’s opponents want to form a coalition – but this is very shaky.

In Israel want the opponents of the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu form a new government together. The leader of the ultra-right Jamina party, Naftali Bennett, said in Jerusalem on Sunday that he would do everything possible to forge an alliance with opposition leader Jair Lapid of the Future Party. According to media reports, the goal is a rotation in the office of prime minister: First, ex-defense minister Bennett should take over this for two years, then it would be Lapid’s turn.

If such a government were sworn in in parliament, the Netanyahu era would be over for the time being. Netanyahu was prime minister from 1996 to 1999 and has been in office since 2009. He was Israel’s longest-serving head of government.

Minority government is emerging

Bennett said it had become clear that right-wing government was currently impossible to form. The only options are a fifth election or a unity government with Lapid.

After the agreement, a minority government is emerging, which is tolerated by Arab MPs. In the March 23 election, Lapid’s center-right Party of the Future had become the second strongest force behind Netanyahu’s Likud. Bennett Jamina party was considered to tip the scales.

Israel last remained in a permanent political crisis. The fourth parliamentary election within two years had again not resulted in a clear majority. Netanyahu had failed to form a government, so on May 5, President Reuven Rivlin commissioned Lapid to do so. The mandate is valid until Wednesday at midnight.

Lapid’s Future Party has already reached agreements with the left-liberal Meretz Party, the Labor Party and the far-right Israel Beitenu of ex-Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Lapid was previously a television presenter

Lapid wants to bring together several small parties that are far apart in the political spectrum. Above all, they are united by the rejection of Netanyahu, against whom a corruption process is ongoing. Their political goals, however, are wide apart: Bennett is regarded as being friendly to settlers, for example, while Meretz and the Labor Party are in favor of establishing an independent Palestinian state. This could make the coalition’s work more difficult.

The 57-year-old Lapid had entered politics after a career as a television presenter. He served as finance minister in a previous Netanyahu government.

At the beginning of May, 56 MPs voted for Lapid to be responsible for forming a government. Jamina won seven Knesset seats in the previous election. However, one MP has announced that he will not support Jamina joining the coalition planned by Lapid. Netanyahu had tried to the last to persuade other Jamina MPs to take this step.

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