Netanyahu says coalition deal still possible as talk of new elections grows louder
Monday 27/May/2019 - 10:29 AM
The Middle East Eye
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu embarked on Sunday on what he termed a "final effort" to break a deadlock on forming a governing coalition ahead of a Wednesday deadline for a deal and amid talk of fresh elections.
Netanyahu has been unable to reach a deal with potential coalition partners despite results from 9 April polls giving his Likud party and its right-wing and religious allies a majority in parliament، AFP said.
Negotiations have broken down over legislation aimed at requiring ultra-Orthodox Jews to perform mandatory military service like other Jewish Israelis.
Former defence minister Avigdor Lieberman، leader of the Yisrael Beitenu party، has long said ultra-Orthodox men must share other Israeli Jews' burden of mandatory service، Reuters reported. Ultra-Orthodox parties say seminary students should be largely exempt from conscription as they have been since Israel was founded in 1948.
Netanyahu needs both Lieberman and the ultra-Orthodox to form the coalition he is seeking.
A 42-day deadline mandated by law to announce a new government expires on Wednesday، and President Reuven Rivlin may then assign the task to another legislator after consultations with the leaders of political parties.
That could open the way for former military chief Benny Gantz، leader of the centrist Blue and White party، to try. But he would need the backing of some of Likud's allies to persuade Rivlin he could put together a ruling majority in parliament.
Likud and Blue and White each won 35 of the Knesset's 120 seats in the April ballot، but Netanyahu was seen as having clinched victory because of the right-wing majority that emerged.