JERUSALEM, Sep 23 (EUROPE PRESS) –
The outgoing Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, met Monday with his main rival to occupy the highest political responsibility position of Israel, Benny Gantz, to explore the options for forming a unity government for Israel.
Netanyahu, leader of the conservative Likud party, was the second most voted option in the September 17 elections, a few tenths behind the Gantz Blue and White party (25.93 vs. 25.03), although with the same number of seats, 33, so neither of the two formations has clear options to form a government.
Gantz and Netanyahu have met at the official residence of the Israeli president, Reuven Rivlin, who has begun the round of contacts to probe the options and choose the most supported to entrust the formation of government.
During the day on Sunday, the Joint Arab List expressed its support for Gantz, which placed the former army chief as the candidate with the most support, although the three parliamentarians of Balad, part of the coalition, have been unmarked from the decision, which leaves Netanyahu with 55 supports and Gantz with 54.
The Knesset is made up of 120 seats, so the government coalition must add at least 61 to obtain the approval in session of the appointment of the prime minister, as well as the future policies of the Executive.
The real judge of this negotiation would thus be the leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, Avigdor Liberman, who has defended the option of a unity government. This same Monday Liberman has pointed out that the option of the unity government between Likud and Azul and Blanco is a “certainty” and that the only thing left to agree is who will be prime minister in the first place.
Liberman has met Gantz on Monday, although he has not revealed which of the two, Gantz or Netanyahu, would be his first preference, staying true to his campaign, in which he has presented the option of the unity government between Likud, Blue and White and Yisrael Beiteinu. “There is only one option on the table,” he has riveted.
Liberman stressed that this prevents the government from entering “ultra-Orthodox, Messianist (Yamina), the Joint List (Arab) or Democratic Field”, so it has not ruled out the inclusion of the Labor-Gesher Social Democratic Party.
In the recent elections of September 17, the Blue and White Gantz party was the most voted and won 33 seats, for the 31 of the Likud. The third force is the Joint List (Balad, Hadash, Taal and United Arab List), with 13 seats.
Behind are Shas, with nine; United Judaism of the Torah (UTJ) and Yisrael Beitenu, with eight; Yamina, with seven; the Labor Party, with six; and the Democratic Union, with five.
Thus, the situation is similar to the one experienced after the April elections, when Netanyahu was not able to reach an agreement due to his differences with Lieberman and decided to call early elections, instead of returning the mandate to Rivlin to give the opportunity to form Government to Gantz.