Israel Elections : Benny Gantz rejects Netanyahu’s ‘unity government’ offer; stresses on forming liberal government

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Jerusalem, Sep 20: The leader of center-left Blue and White party, Benny Gantz, has on Thursday dismissed Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s offer to form a “unity government”.

After Tuesday’s elections results were out, Gantz, addressing the first party conference on Thursday, said he is now the leader of the largest party in Israel. “I want to establish a broad and liberal unity government headed by me to bring about the will of the people of Israel,” he said

Replying to Netanyahu’s call for a unity ruling government, he said: “You don’t approach establishing a unity government with blocs and spins,” Anadolu Agency reported.

Netanyahu has said it was impossible to create a unity government without having an arranged meeting between the two major party leaders. “I was disappointed that at this time Benny Gantz still refuses to meet,” he said.

Earlier on Thursday, the prime minister called on Gantz to form an alliance, according to the Israeli local media reports.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu scheduled his meeting with the leaders of right-wing parties Yamina, Shas and United Torah Judaism in order to negotiate as one community. Israel’s election committee is likely to declare the final poll’s result on Thursday evening.

Netanyahu’s bloc – comprised of ultra-Orthodox and right-wing parties, failed to secure a majority of seats in the nation’s legislature, as Israelis cast a ballot on Tuesday for the second time just in one year, following an indecisive poll in April.

According to Politico.eu, with only 91 percent of votes counted, Netanyahu’s Likud party secured 31 out of 120 Knesset seats against 32 seats secured by opposition Kahol Lavan party. Currently, Likud Party stands at 56 seats in total and need to secure 61 seats in total.

He also called off his official address at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) scheduled for next week in New York after falling behind of securing a majority in Israel’s second general poll to form a new ruling government with his right-wing allies

On Wednesday, Netanyahu’s office said he will not be participating in the 2019 UNGA, citing the pertaining “political circumstances”, but didn’t further elaborated, according to The Times of Israel.

The UNGA session is scheduled for September 24 to open, a day before when the Central Election Commission (CEC) will declare the final results of Tuesday’s voting and convey it to President Reuven Rivlin.

His absence at the UNGA session would directly mean he would not be meeting United States President Donald Trump, who said on Saturday he looked forward to meeting Netanyahu after the election to discuss potential US-Israel defence pact.

 

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