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Israel: Netanyahu, Gantz coalition talks end with no deal

April 15, 2020 at 8:55 am

Workers hang a Blue and White Party billaboard showing its leader Benny Gantz and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, as part of the party’s campaign on 17 February, 2020 in Tel Aviv [Amir Levy/Getty Images]

A meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and leader of the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) party, Benny Gantz, on the formation of a national emergency government, ended without result.

The two parties announced, in a statement issued after nearly six hours of talks, that “they will meet again on Wednesday evening after the Jewish Passover holiday”.

President Reuven Rivlin extended Gantz’s deadline to form a government to tomorrow evening, after receiving a letter from Netanyahu and the leader of Blue and White party, in which they informed him of tangible progress towards the formation of a coalition.

Rivlin extended the deadline “as the two parties are very close to reaching an agreement.”

READ: Israel’s Gantz says unity government won’t come at ‘any cost’

The progress came after negotiations were suspended due to disputes over judicial and political issues regarding the size and timing of the annexation process that will cover a significant proportion of the occupied West Bank.

The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday that “Gantz agreed to the Likud request to dissolve the Knesset if the Israeli Supreme Court decided that Netanyahu could not form the government,” in light of the corruption charges against him.

Israel has held three elections in under a year and failed to form a coalition government as the two leading parties have always fallen short of achieving the necessary number of seats to head the new Knesset.