Elections loom as coalition hangs by a thread

November 18, 2018 by Yona Schnitzer - TPS
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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu cancelled Sunday morning’s scheduled Coalition party head meeting, as Israel’s political system moves ever closer to early elections.

Benjamin Netanyahu Photo by Kobi Richter/TPS on 24 October, 2018

This comes following the resignation of Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and the subsequent narrowing of the coalition to a slim majority of 61 MKs out of 120.

On Saturday night, Netanyahu announced that he is scheduled to meet with Kulanu Chairman and Treasury Secretary Moshe Kahlon later on Sunday, in a last-ditch effort to prevent the coalition’s disbandment. Should Kahlon decide to pull his party out, the right-wing government will fall, Netanyahu warned.

“Tomorrow, I will be meeting with Moshe Kahlon for a final attempt to convince him not to topple the government,” Netanyahu tweeted, adding that “if Kulanu doesn’t topple the government, there will be a government. We shouldn’t topple a right-wing government. The entire Likud is interested in serving the country for another whole year.”

Kahlon, on his part, told Channel 2 News on Saturday, that he is convinced the political system is moving towards elections.

“I will sit down with the Prime Minister tomorrow and hear how he wants to handle this crisis. Maybe he’ll pull a rabbit out of a hat,” Kahlon said, adding that “if the Prime Minister can’t convince me – I will vote for the disbanding of the government.”

On Friday, Netanyahu met with Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett, in a similar attempt to convince him not to withdraw his party. The meeting came on the heels of Bennett’s public demand to be appointed Defense Minister following Liberman’s departure. During the meeting, Netanyahu reportedly told Bennett that he is willing to consider appointing him Defense Minister, but not as an ultimatum and not without the agreement of the coalition. In the meantime, Netanyahu will fill the role of Defense Minister.

Responding to Netanyahu’s warnings that the various parties must prevent the disbanding of a right-wing government, Bennett said: “There is no government, and it’s not right-wing.”

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