Gantz fails to gain support of majority to establish government

September 23, 2019 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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After the first day of consultations between President Reuven Rivlin and the political parties on who should receive the presidential mandate to form a government, it appears that Benny Gantz and his Blue and White party have failed to garner the support of the majority of the parties to receive the mandate.

Benny Gantz, leader of Blue and White party, at the memorial ceremony for Shimon Peres, Israel’s 9th president, who passed away three years ago. The ceremony is held at the Great Leaders of the Nation section of Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl cemetery. Jerusalem, Sep 19, 2019. Photo by Esty Dziubov/TPS

Israeli law dictates that the president task an MK with forming a government, preferably the individual with the best chance of doing so. To discern which of the MKs has such a chance, Rivlin began a round of consultation with the newly elected MKs, who will recommend a coalition builder.

Gantz was seemingly the best candidate to receive the mandate as his Blue and White party received the most votes, 33, two more than Likud’s 31.

On Sunday, Rivlin met with MKs from Blue and White, who recommended that Gantz form the next government, and Likud, who recommended that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from the next government.

While meeting Rivlin, part of the Joint List faction recommended that Gantz form the next government, but the Balad faction, which is part of the List, opposed such a motion.

Yisrael Beiteinu gave no recommendation, and Shas recommended that Netanyahu take the lead.

The consultations will continue Monday when Rivlin will meet with Yemina, United Torah Judaism, Labor+Gesher and the Democratic Union.

Yemina and United Torah Judaism are expected to lend their support for Netanyahu, while the Labor+Gesher and the Democratic Union will support Gantz.

In Total, Netanyahu has one more supporter than Gantz and is likely to receive the mandate to form the next government. It should be noted that Netanyahu received the mandate after the April elections but failed to form a government.

Blue and White have been in negotiations with the joint Arab list, but MK Avigdor Liberman, head of Yisrael Beiteinu, another potential coalition partner, stated he will not sit in a coalition with the Arab parties.

“The ultra-Orthodox parties are a political opponent and not an enemy. In contrast, the Joint List is a fifth column which is trying to destroy us from the inside, and their place is in the Ramallah parliament and not in the Knesset,” Liberman stated Sunday evening.

Many of the MKs on the Joint List have openly endorsed terrorism, terror organizations and anti-Israel organizations such as the BDS.

Liberman has been pushing for a unity government, “a broad liberal government” as he termed it.

MK Yoaz Hendel, of Blue and White, also rejected the idea of sharing the coalition with the Arab representatives.

“They will not be in the government in any way,” he stated. “This is a list that harms coexistence. Some Knesset members of the Joint List should have not been admitted into the Knesset.”

As for Israeli Arabs, “we have a responsibility to them as citizens who deserve equal rights and obligations,” he clarified.

It appears that the Israeli political system still faces days of turmoil, upheaval, spins and fake news until a new government can be formed.

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