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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party stated the formation of a right-wing government to lead Israel into the future is still feasible despite Netanyahu’s failure to form a coalition government by May 4.
Posted on Likud’s Twitter profile, the statement also labeled recent efforts by Yamina party chief Naftali Bennett to form a new coalition government across party lines as a “disgrace” which would “endanger” the Jewish nation.
“Many lofty words will not be able to hide the simple truth that Gideon and Bennett are trying to hide: It is possible to form a right-wing government in a short time, instead of galloping into a dangerous left-wing government. It’s not too late to recover,” Likud stated.
Following Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s call for Yesh Atid chief Yair Lapid to form a new government after Netanyahu’s failure to do so, Bennett announced on Sunday his intentions to formulate a power-sharing agreement between the Yamina and Yesh Atid parties. Lapid has until Wednesday to inform President Rivlin he is able to form a new government, which would see the end of the current prime minister’s 12 year long consecutive rule.
With a series of obstacles still in the way on the road towards the formation of a new government, the centrist, left and right wing parties which compose the coalition will need to work out their internal differences and conditions before presenting the new government to President Rivlin by Wednesday.
“There are still plenty of obstacles in the way of the formation of the new government,” Yesh Atid chief Yair Lapid stated during a faction meeting. “That’s our first test. To see if we can find smart compromises in the coming days to achieve the greater goal,” the Times of Israel reported.
The power-sharing agreement would see Bennett serving two years as Prime Minister until 2023 before Lapid assumes the position for the next two, until 2025.
Meeting Sunday to Monday and working late into the night, negotiating teams from Yamina, Yesh Atid and several others of the ‘change’ bloc have been negotiating terms for the formation of the new government.
While “ ‘significant progress’ was made in the four-way talks between representatives from Yamina, Yesh Atid, New Hope and Blue and White,” disagreements arose over member parties’ desires for control over greater positions within the new government, the Times of Israel wrote.
The New Hope party has demanded that their MK member, Yoaz Handel, be appointed as the communications or tourism minister while both positions are currently supposedly going to Yesh Atid.
There is another disagreement between the Blue and White party and the Yisrael Beytenu party over the position of agricultural minister. Blue and White are demanding the position fall to their party despite earlier promises for the position to be assigned to Yisrael Beytenu.
“Additionally, Yisrael Beytenu is fighting Yamina MK Ayelet Shaked’s reported demand that the Ministry for the Development of the Negev and the Galilee be closed and its responsibilities given to her as Interior Minister. Yisrael Beytenu had reportedly previously been promised the ministry,” the Times of Israel reported.
A conservative ally of Netanyahu, the Shas party released a statement echoing Likud’s Twitter post which stated: “In light of everything that has been presented to us about the political events of recent days, we are convinced with absolute confidence that it is possible to immediately form a right-wing government of 65 MKs.”
“We call on Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked, Gideon Sa’ar and Ze’ev Elkin one final time: Do not give your hand to the establishment of a left-wing government that will endanger the Land of Israel and the Torah of Israel,” Shas said. “Remember that the formation of a left-wing government is a disgrace that will never be forgotten.”
In stark contrast to Likud’s calls for the prevention of a coalition government composed of the left and right, Bennett has stated a new coalition government will unify Israel which has seen bitter political deadlock over the last two years.
“ ‘The elections have proven there is no [possible] right-wing government under Netanyahu. There’s unity or fifth elections,’ Bennett said in a nationally televised address, after weeks of vacillating between talks with Lapid and talks with Netanyahu, in which it seemed he could end up backing either leader,” the Times of Israel wrote.
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