Thursday, 23 January, 2020

Israeli leaders warn of possible third election amid political deadlock

A 'unity' government in Israel? Easier said than done Netanyahu Calls for Gantz to Form Unity Government
Robin Buchanan | 22 September, 2019, 05:59

Netanyahu's right-wing Likud won 31 seats, but neither had an obvious path to a majority coalition.

After a second election this year produced no decisive victor, neither candidate appears able to form a coalition and the focus has turned to the option of a government with the two biggest parties: Netanyahu's Likud and Gantz's Blue and White.

Gantz is the clear front-runner, but his prospects remain far from certain.

Aaron David Miller, a former USA adviser on Israel and Palestine, said Trump is more interested in bolstering his popularity within the United States, especially among Jewish voters, than Netanyahu's election chances, adding: "Trump only cares about one election, and it's not Netanyahu's".

This was the second election held in Israel in just over five months, after Netanyahu failed to form a coalition following his victory in the April election.

HAIFA, Israel, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Israel's Arab parties are set to be the largest non-ruling bloc in parliament - and could even lead the opposition - if a national unity government emerges from Tuesday's election.

Netanyahu had desperately sought an outright majority with his hard-line and ultra-Orthodox allies in hopes of passing legislation to give him immunity from his expected indictment.

Despite being Israel's longest-serving leader and having a reputation for political sorcery, Netanyahu is fighting a tough battle.

He foresees the next election taking place in early 2020. As a result, many average Israelis that want an Education Minister who focuses primarily on math and computer science skills, determined the threat posed by religious parties to the liberal secularism of the country was very real.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said Wednesday he is prepared to restart peace talks with whomever is able to form a new Israeli government.

The prime minister repeated the offer later in the day when he met with Gantz at a memorial for former Israeli President Shimon Peres. "These are fairly common phenomena, and Israel isn't unusual". Many voters seen him as a "Mr Dapper", another choice to Netanyahu and the cloud of alleged criminal misdeeds striking over him.

"I will do everything I can to prevent another general election", he said, admonishing elected officials, and the leaders of both major parties, to form "a government that serves all the citizens of Israel with the dedication it deserves".

He posited that Israel's seemingly intractable coalition challenge may be solvable.

In December 2018, Mr Gantz announced the formation of a new party called Israel Resilience, which espoused policies that emphasised education and national security.

If Netanyahu is not successful in bringing Blue and White to help him form a coalition, then another option would be convincing the Labor Party with its six mandates to enter into his coalition.

The election stalemate has turned Avigdor Lieberman of the Yisrael Beitenu party into a political kingmaker.

Politicians from an alliance of the country's minority Arab population could also play a role, after they became the third-largest bloc in the Knesset. Former Likud Defense Minister and current Blue and White Knesset member Moshe Ya'alon told JNS, "I am calling on my friends in the Likud and in the religious parties to tell Netanyahu, 'Enough".

President Reuven Rivlin - who will be tasked with determining who will have the first chance to form a coalition - spoke of the need to end the deadlock between Netanyahu and Gantz.

History could be made if the Joint List - or part of it, if members representing the Islamic movement were to peel away - joined Gantz.

All of this will probably take several weeks. The people voted for unity and Blue and White won the election.

Tarnopolsky is a special correspondent.


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