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Israeli PM Threatens New Elections

Israeli PM Threatens New Elections

Tuesday, 21 May, 2019 - 09:00
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (AFP)
Tel Aviv- Nazir Majli
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to declare a dead-end and call for new elections, after another negotiations round had failed.

Over the past five weeks, Netanyahu was unable to reach an agreement with any party, accusing them of asking for unreasonable demands.

He has until May 28 to form the next government, knowing that he has already received his one-off 14-day extension from President Reuven Rivlin.

Netanyahu accuses allies of asking for tough political demands, such as Avigdor Lieberman, who asked for the defense ministry and absolute powers in dealing with Hamas.

The United Right is also asking for absolute power on the issue of expanding settlements and religious parties demanding a reduction in the number of their young men serving in the army.

Netanyahu is also being pressured from his Likud party, where his comrades remind him that the party won 35 seats and should not give the key ministries to parties that only won four or five seats.

A close associate of Netanyahu said that the situation to form a government is unprecedented in Israeli history. Usually, the prime minister-designate has closed agreements with the majority of parties.

Even though Netanyahu's biggest ally gained only 8 seats, its leaders are making impossible and unrealistic demands.

Media representatives and various experts are denouncing this situation and pointing out that Netanyahu's blackmail is shamelessly inspired by Netanyahu's own behavior.

The PM wants a government coalition to pass a so-called immunity law that would prevent a sitting prime minister from being indicted. Netanyahu is facing three separate corruption investigations and the attorney general says that he will seek indictments.

All right-winged parties had agreed to Netanyahu’s condition of amending the law enabling him to avoid trial for four years. According to the Walla poll, 56 percent of Israelis are opposed to such legislation that will provide immunity to the PM or Knesset members until their term is over.

The results showed strong support for Netanyahu among Likud voters, even if an indictment is handed down. The poll found that 71 percent of Likud voters backed the immunity bill, and only 17 percent oppose. About 80 percent said the prime minister should remain in office even if indicted, with only 12 percent opposing such a scenario.

About forty-five percent of the respondents expressed their opposition to the "overriding clause", which meant that the Knesset would override the Supreme Court and prevent it from taking decisions that would annul laws enacted by the Knesset. The percentage of support for this item among Likud voters 72 percent, while 84 percent of the voters of the center-left parties.

The poll showed that there is a rift in this area, albeit small, that 79 percent of the voters of the Kulanu party, chaired by Moshe Kahlon, a former and current coalition partner, and 75 percent oppose If an indictment is filed against him.

Fifty-eight percent of them said they opposed the "overriding clause" the Supreme Court and restricting its powers.

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