Netanyahu coalition offer rebuffed


The right-wing leader failed on Tuesday, for the second time in five months, to secure a clear election victory and the centrist Blue and White party led by ex-armed forces chief Benny Gantz rebuffed his calls to join a unity government on Thursday.

Official results have not been announced, but Israeli media have reported that Blue and White has 33 parliamentary seats and Likud 31 out of 120 with 97 percent of the votes counted.

Will Benjamin Netanyahu or Benny Gantz be able to form a government, or will Israel have to go to the polls for a third election in the course of a year? "The nation expects us, both of us, to demonstrate responsibility and that we pursue cooperation".

After a near-tie between the Labor and Likud parties, Netanyahu explained, their respective leaders Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Shamir agreed to rotating premierships as part of a unity government to "navigate Israel to a safe shore".

"Benny, it is on us to form a broad unity government".

The stark admission followed Israel's general election on Tuesday that has threatened Netanyahu's status as the country's longest-serving prime minister as he faces possible corruption charges in the weeks ahead.

Professor Dan Avnon, Chair of the Political Science Department at Hebrew University in Jerusalem said the election results showed that the majority of Israelis wanted a "stable, normal and functioning democracy". Both parties - Likud and Blue and White - were meeting with allies in the vote's aftermath. Ashrawi told Arab News that a new Israeli government might want "to defuse this volatility" and make certain improvements on various levels, including the Gaza siege or on the movement of people and goods.

A 'unity' government in Israel? Easier said than done

Liberman's comments, made behind closed doors according to an unsourced Channel 12 news report on Thursday afternoon, would mark a significant boost to Gantz, who is seeking President Reuven Rivlin's backing to form a new government and unseat Netanyahu. "Britain has seen several changes of leadership in recent years and new Prime Minister Boris Johnson is now losing important parliamentary votes as members of his own party don't support him". "And therefore, Blue and White under my leadership won the elections - Blue and White is the biggest party".

Joint List leader Ayman Odeh could potentially become the country's first-ever Arab opposition leader if a unity government between Blue and White and Likud is formed. Many voters saw him as a "Mr Clean", an alternative to Netanyahu and the cloud of alleged criminal misdeeds hanging over him.

Gantz too called for a unity government, but he insisted that he be prime minister.

Negotiations to form a government have intensified with Netanyahu arguing that "in the coming days, we will begin negotiations to establish a strong Zionist government and avoid a unsafe anti-Zionist one".

Neither party can form a majority government without the support of the election's apparent kingmaker, Avigdor Lieberman of the Yisrael Beitenu party. Prime Minister, on joining that call this morning. The Blue and White Party has made clear they will not enter into a coalition with someone who is about to be (or has been indicted), even though Israeli law allows an indicted Prime Minister to remain in office - a sequence of events that is no longer viable after this election.

The campaigns run by Netanyahu, 69, and Gantz, 60, pointed to exclusively slender variations on many essential points, and an finish to the Netanyahu period could be unlikely to result in vital modifications in coverage on relations with america, the regional battle in opposition to Iran or the Palestinian battle.

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