Netanyahu And Gantz Try To Close a Government Agreement In Israel

The leader of the Likud party, Benjamin Netanyahu and centrist Beny Gantz have spent a good part of the weekend negotiating for a government pact that ends a year of political blockade in Israel and that will foreseeably keep the former in the position of prime minister.

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The two negotiated hand-in-hand with Gabi Ashkenazi, third in Blue and White, and announced in a joint statement “important progress” to form “a national emergency government” to tackle the COVID-19 crisis.

Israel’s political situation took an unexpected turn last Thursday when Gantz, in charge of forming an Executive, emerged as Speaker of Parliament with the support of Netanyahu and his parliamentary bloc, evidencing a pact between the two rivals.

The local media point out that they will form an Executive with alternation in the head of Government, which Netanyahu will head the first year and a half, in which the centrist leader would be minister, and then access the position of prime minister in late 2021, with Netanyahu as deputy prime minister. The details have not yet been finalized.

One of the thorniest points, notes the newspaper Haaretz, is that Netanyahu claims to approve legislation that allows him to continue in the government, despite being accused of corruption, a situation that prevents him by law from exercising as a minister, although not as prime minister.

Another issue to be resolved is the distribution of ministries among the partners. One of the most controversial at the moment is that of Justice, due to the influence that its owner may have on the Netanyahu trial. The deal would force an inflated cabinet of up to 30 portfolios to be created, half of which could go to Gantz MPs.

The centrist alliance that he leads, Blue and White, is broken by this pact, and it is not clear how many of his 33 deputies will follow him in the adventure of governing with Bibi, which again demonstrates with this twist how difficult it is to expel him from power .

Gantz promised actively and passively not to govern with a defendant for corruption, but after three elections without achieving a sufficient majority, he has finally bowed to the dictates of the Likud of Netanyahu. Two of the three factions that make up the coalition, Telem and Yesh Atid, have already announced that they will remain in opposition.

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