Israel May Face Third Election after Failure to Form Government

Benny Gantz, head of the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) alliance. (Photo: via MEMO)

Israel moved closer towards holding a third election in less than a year on Wednesday after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main challenger failed to form a government.

Benny Gantz’s announcement that he would not meet a midnight deadline following Netanyahu’s own failure to put together a coalition in October deepened political deadlock at a time of mounting security and economic concerns.

“In the past 28 days, I have left no stone unturned, irrespective of how small, in my attempt to form a government that would bring to the state of Israel leadership with integrity, morality and values,” Gantz said.

“We have made great efforts toward forming a broad, liberal unity government … a government that will serve everyone – religious and secular, Jews and Arabs.”

Neither Netanyahu, who heads the right-wing Likud party nor former general Gantz of the centrist Blue and White secured a ruling majority in parliament in elections in April and September.

Netanyahu, in office for the past decade, failed to put together a coalition after the inconclusive September election. Gantz was handed the task by President Reuven Rivlin next, but his 28 days to form a government expire at midnight (22:00 GMT).

There was no sign of progress towards a Rivlin-proposed deal for a national unity government that would include Likud and Blue and White after weeks of talks.

Lieberman, who heads the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party, told a news conference on Wednesday that “both [Netanyahu and Gantz] were guilty” of failing to agree on a Likud-Blue and White alliance, which he had strongly advocated.

With no unity government in sight, Lieberman said, he would deny both men the support of his party’s eight legislators, effectively meaning neither Netanyahu nor Gantz would have sufficient backing to form more narrow administrations.

(Al Jazeera, PC, Social Media)

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