Politics, Middle East

Israel: Efforts to form unity government again fail

If no one can put together 61-seat majority, Israel's Knesset will be dissolved on May 7, and fourth elections called

Abdelraouf Arnaout   | 20.04.2020
Israel: Efforts to form unity government again fail


Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Monday meeting with opposition leader Benny Gantz ended without an agreement on forming a national unity government, the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation reported.

It cited a member of Likud, the ruling party, as saying that differences remain over a committee assigned to nominate judges.

After the meeting's failure, the report said, Gantz, who heads the Blue and White party, may propose bills in the Knesset, the country's unicameral 120-seat legislature, targeting Netanyahu.

Israeli media reported that Gantz, who is also the Knesset speaker, believes the bills could act as pressure on Netanyahu in talks to form a government.

Earlier, opposition parties proposed bills to prevent a Knesset member accused of criminal charges from heading a government.

Netanyahu’s trial on charges of corruption, bribery and breach of trust is set to begin next month in a Jerusalem court.

Israel has been facing a political crisis since April 2019, when elections failed to produce a governing coalition. Three subsequent elections were also inconclusive.

The period given by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to form a government ended last week, and the task of producing a new candidate for premier passed to the Knesset.

Under the law, a Knesset member has 21 days to form a government with a majority of 61 votes.

If no member achieves the target within the deadline, the 23rd Knesset will be dissolved on May 7, and an unprecedented fourth general election will be called by Aug. 4.

-Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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