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Israel’s Gantz and Lapid merge lists, agree premier rotation

February 21, 2019 at 11:36 am

Benny Gantz, former Israeli military chief of staff and presidential candidate in Tel Aviv on 29 January 2019 [Amir Levy/Getty Images]

Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid today announced that they had agreed to merge their party lists to challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the April elections, reported the Times of Israel.

The statement came at the end of “marathon, all-night talks”, and revealed that should the Israel Resilience (Hosen L’Yisrael)-Yesh Atid ticket form the next coalition government, Gantz would be prime minister for the first half of the government’s term, followed by Lapid. The new alliance is to be called the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan).

The announcement also revealed that former Israeli military chief Gabi Ashkenazi had agreed to join the list, which already includes another former Israeli military chief and former defence minister, Moshe Ya’alon.

READ: Netanyahu makes deal with far-right party ahead of Israeli election 

The statement announced the rotation agreement and said Ashkenazi had decided to join due to the “pivotal moment and the national task at hand”.

According to Israeli electoral law, all parties must submit their finalised lists by 5pm today.

A poll released by Walla! yesterday showed that a Gantz-Lapid merger would win the elections with 34 seats to Likud’s 33. However, the results also indicated that Netanyahu would still find it easier to form a coalition, with the Gantz-Lapid alliance bereft of major natural allies.

Previous polls have produced similar findings – namely that a Gantz-Lapid-Ya’alon-Ashkenazi ticket would secure more Knesset seats than Likud, but find it harder to form a majority government.