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Elham AbolFateh

Middle East

Gantz derides Netanyahu’s bid to expand cabinet as ‘political bribery’

Monday 20/May/2019 - 10:49 PM
Sada El Balad
Edited by Ahmed Moamar
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday of resorting to “political bribery” in his bid to expand the number of cabinet posts he can offer to woo potential coalition partners into the government، as the Times of Israel said.

“Can you believe we are going to talk today about increasing the number of ministers? This is simply another tool in the toolbox of political bribery. Its only aim is political gain. Anyone who accepts this is accepting a political bribe،” Gantz said at the opening of his party’s weekly faction meeting in the Knesset.
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday of resorting to “political bribery” in his bid to expand the number of cabinet posts he can offer to woo potential coalition partners into the government.

“Can you believe we are going to talk today about increasing the number of ministers? This is simply another tool in the toolbox of political bribery. Its only aim is political gain. Anyone who accepts this is accepting a political bribe،” Gantz said at the opening of his party’s weekly faction meeting in the Knesset.
With time running out for him to finalize a deal to form a new government، Netanyahu is seeking to appeal to the six parties، including his own Likud، vying for ministerial posts. Increasing the number of ministers would give Netanyahu additional collateral to court the parties he needs to give him a majority، while also satisfying the demands of his own party members، who are likely to miss out on key positions doled out to coalition partners
Gantz called the measure “nothing but a part of the plan to protect Bibi،” referring to the prime minister’s attempts to protect himself from prosecution in three corruption cases against him.

“In a few weeks we will be debating the immunity bill that will turn the Israeli parliament into nothing less than a refuge city for criminals،” he added، slamming the Likud-backed legislation that would grant Netanyahu absolute immunity from prosecution.

Existing Israeli law already provides prosecutorial immunity to all sitting Knesset members، but Netanyahu has reportedly been pushing fresh legislation to ease the process and possibly prevent the Supreme Court from overturning it. The immunity bill has thus become a lightning rod for divisions in the ongoing coalition talks، as Netanyahu struggles to put together a new government after last month’s elections.

His efforts to pursue legislative immunity have drawn criticism from political opponents and legal scholars، who warn that such reforms would place the prime minister above the law and erode system of checks and balances.

“To Bibi I say — be a man. Stop this now. You have gone too far. We will fight this in parliament، on the street، in the squares، in schools، in the media in order to protect democracy for everyone. We will not let it happen،” Gantz vowed on Monday، urging Israelis to take to the streets to protest.

“We will not accept the undermining of the foundations of the state: democracy، the rule of law and the separation of powers. Instead of silent agreement، we and the general public raise a cry،” he said.

Gantz also turned to Likud members and members of other likely coalition parties، calling on them to “not give in to blackmail and fear.”

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