Cabinet meeting cancelled, elections in the air again

August 9, 2020 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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The government’s weekly Cabinet meeting was cancelled today (Sunday) after the Likud and Blue and White parties could not agree on an agenda, as the prospect of the fourth round of elections looms large.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz at the weekly cabinet meeting, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem on July 5, 2020. Photo by Amit Shabi/POOL

From its inception a few months ago, the government has been squabbling about almost every issue, and the current issue at hand is if a one-year or two-year budget should be passed.

Benny Gantz wants a two-year budget, and Benjamin Netanyahu wants a one-year budget. The sides have until August 25 to present a budget, or the government will automatically dissolve.

The Likud stated that Cabinet’s meeting would not convene due to Blue and White’s “refusal to put on the agenda” a NIS 8.5 billion government economic assistance program to contend with the financial crisis generated by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“The Likud demands that Blue and White not to thwart the transfer of funds to Israeli citizens at this time of dealing with the corona crisis,” Netanyahu’s party stated.

Countering the Likud’s accusations, Blue and White stated that the Cabinet meeting will not take place following the Likud’s “insistence on not abiding by the coalition agreement and not approving the cabinet’s bylaws that guarantee its stability. This is not the first time that the Likud has not fulfilled its commitment, and any other excuse is a complete lie to the Israeli public.”

Blue and White informed Likud that any vote related to the Corona crisis will not be delayed and will be conducted through a telephone vote.

As for the financial, Blue and white said that it is a long-term plan that “has not yet been fully presented and has not yet been finalized. Trying to raise it from one day to the next is nothing more than an irresponsible spin.”

“We expect the Likud to abide by the agreement and approve the government’s bylaws that will allow for the continued stability that is so required at this time,” the faction demanded.

“Nine million Israeli citizens expect stability and reliability from the government, and Blue and White will not agree to challenge this,” it added.

Most political pundits say that Israel is again headed toward the fourth round of elections in a bit over a year’s time.

Elections during in Coronavirus times will prove an extremely challenging undertaking.

Polls show that Netanyahu’s Likud is in the lead with 31 seats while Blue and white has lost most of its power and has about 9 seats.

Netanyahu may still try to avert another contentious round of elections by establishing a government of 61 members.

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