Gantz Rejects Netanyahu’s Conditions for Forming Gov’t, Likud Expected to Return Mandate

Neither Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party nor former IDF chief Benny Gantz’s Kachol v’Lavan party appears able to form a majority coalition without the support of Avigdor Liberman, leader of the midsize Yisrael Beitenu party. Photo Credit: Flash 90
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Since Gantz opposed the terms Netanyahu set for a unity coalition, Likud’s mandate to form the next government will likely be returned to President Rivlin, who will then give Gantz the same opportunity.

Edited by: JV Staff

Former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz of the Israel’s Blue and White (Kachol v’Lavan) party rejected the conditions proposed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a national unity government under his leadership with the premiere’s right-wing and religious allies.

After talks with Netanyahu’s Likud, the Blue and White party said it “made clear from the outset” that it would reject those conditions, making it all the more difficult for Netanyahu to face the daunting task of cobbling together a coalition government that is necessary to rule.

The AP reported that Likud sources have said that Netanyahu is expected to return his mandate to form a government to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin before Sunday evening, when the Rosh HaShanah holiday begins. 

President Rivlin will then appoint Gantz with the mandate of forming a government. Gantz will be given 28 days to form a coalition of 61 Knesset members. According to political observers, he too will not succeed and this may force the third round of national elections in a year. 

Gantz’s Blue & White  won 33 seats, which was closely followed by Netanyahu’s Likud, with 32. Neither party has enough support to assemble a 61-seat majority coalition, and they are sharply divided over who will maintain leadership of any possible unity government as well as which parties will be a part of it.

Netanyahu says he is negotiating as the head of a 55-seat bloc that includes his allies, while the Blue and White says it is only negotiating with the Likud, according to an AP report. Gantz has said he will not sit in a government led by Netanyahu while the prime minister faces corruption allegations. A hearing is set on the matter with the Israeli Attorney General on October 2nd.

Israeli law does not require Netanyahu to resign his post if an indictment is handed down in his case but analysts have predicted that he will face enormous pressure to do so.

President Rivlin tapped Netanyahu to form the next government earlier this week after failing to broker an agreement between the two deadlocked parties, according to an AP report. Netanyahu has up to six weeks to resolve the impasse.

Calling for a national unity government that excludes Israel’s religious parties, former  Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, has emerged as kingmaker after his Yisrael Beitenu party won eight seats.

The Knesset voted to dissolve itself after April elections when Netanyahu was unable to form a majority coalition, leading to this month’s vote, which was itself unprecedented.

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