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Israel may face third election as chances of new government diminish

Supporters of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu come together in Tel Aviv on election night on 9 April 2019 [THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images]
Supporters of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu come together in Tel Aviv on election night on 9 April 2019 [THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images]

After the failure of the leader of the Blue and White Party to put together a coalition to govern Israel, monitors have said that the country is facing the possibility of a third General Election in less than a year. Benny Gantz had been trying to strike a deal with the leaders of the right-wing bloc, but on Monday they reaffirmed their strong support for incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

This followed the Likud Party’s rejection of a proposal by the Blue and White and Yisrael Beiteinu to form a unity government with the right-wing bloc, but excluding ultra-Orthodox and extreme-right parties.

Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of Yisrael Beiteinu, denied reports that he was ready to make concessions. “This morning,” he tweeted, “I heard and read a load of nonsense from journalists in various media outlets concerning actions Yisrael Beiteinu is allegedly planning: compromises on matters of religion and state, joining one bloc or another etc.”

#IsraElex19: Israeli Elections 2019

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According to the Times of Israel, he added: “These reports are baseless and generated solely by the writers and pundits.”

Israeli Hayom, meanwhile, reported a senior Israeli official saying that the differences between the two camps, the centrist-left led by Gantz and the right-wing led by Netanyahu, is too big and not suited to any rapprochement. He added that the Blue and White is waiting for the Attorney General to indict Netanyahu during the coming week; this would undermine any possibility of the formation of a unity government with Netanyahu at its head.

However, he revealed that Netanyahu is planning to remain Prime Minister even after he is indicted and Likud is ready to go for a third election under his leadership. In the view of the anonymous official, both the right-wing and thee centrist-left blocs would be harmed by another election, and the idea of a unity government “is dead”.

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