Israel parliament set to dissolve itself, head into third elections

12 Décembre, 2019, 13:11 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz left Esther Hayut the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Israel center and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attend a memorial service for former President S

New elections would add to the political challenges facing Netanyahu - Israel's longest serving premier, now governing in a caretaker capacity - at a time when, weakened by corruption charges, he must fend off internal challengers in his right-wing Likud party.

Both were then given 28-day periods to try and forge a workable coalition but failed, forcing President Reuven Rivlin to turn to parliament with his deadline for Wednesday.

MPs were expected to confirm the exact date and confirmed election procedures and financing in the early hours of Thursday.

The new elections are deeply unpopular among the electorate, with the Manufacturers Association of Israel estimating the three elections could cost the economy a total of 12 billion shekels.

Refusing to endorse either Netanyahu or Gantz, Lieberman has repeatedly called on them to form a broad unity government.

With Netanyahu under indictment, Gantz's Blue and White bloc balked at teaming up with the prime minister's Likud in a power-sharing deal that could fully address the country's economic and security challenges after a year of political deadlock. "They both are calculating that third elections will finally force the other side to compromise on these basic principles that they have stayed true to during the last two rounds".

"In order to prevent this happening again, there is only one thing we must do: win and win big", he said.

Gantz squeezed by Netanyahu, a right winger, in the unprecedented second election, on September 17, but since then, both leaders have been unsuccessful in their attempts to puzzle together a government.

"They forced new elections upon us", Netanyahu said in a video published by his Likud party, referring to Gantz's Blue and White party.

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In power since 2009, to his supporters say Israel's longest-serving premier has transformed the country into a tech and innovation powerhouse, while keeping it safe in a tumultuous Middle East.

Nearly three years after the corruption allegations surfaced, Israel's attorney general announced last month that Netanyahu would be the country's first sitting prime minister to be indicted.

He strongly denies the allegations and accuses the media, police and prosecution of a witch-hunt.

No date has yet been set for the beginning of the proceedings and, under Israeli law, Netanyahu can remain in office despite an indictment.

Despite Netanyahu's indictment, polls suggest that a third round of elections could still be neck and neck - prompting some Israelis to speculate about yet another electoral stalemate.

'If during the next 24 hours a government is not formed it will be exclusively because the leaders of the two big parties - Likud and Blue and White - were not willing to set aside their egos, ' he said on Facebook Tuesday. Netanyahu's trial appears to be on hold until the immunity issue is resolved.

Former Interior Minister Gideon Saar, who intends to stand, tweeted: "There is a national need for a breakthrough that will end the ongoing political crisis, enable the formation of a strong government, and to unite the people of Israel".

Whether he will be able to gain the support of the majority of the party, many of whom are fiercely loyal to Netanyahu, remains doubtful.

To boost his support, Netanyahu has pushed his plan to annex a strategic part of the occupied West Bank, as well as signing a defence treaty with the United States.

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