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US News Israel’s president gives Benny Gantz first chance at forming a government

12:55  16 march  2020
12:55  16 march  2020 Source:   washingtonpost.com

Benny Gantz, iron fist and velvet glove

 Benny Gantz, iron fist and velvet glove © Provided by Le Point Former army chief who landed in politics a year ago, the centrist Benny Gantz wants to be pragmatic and unifying, two qualities he will need to try to form a government, after its designation by the Israeli president on Monday. At 60, the head of "Bleu-Blanc", a group which brings together elected officials from both sides, has received the support of 61 elected officials, more than the irremovable Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister for more than a decade. Mr.

President Reuven Rivlin to give mandate to Gantz on Monday. Benny Gantz , who’s been trying to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu for more than a year, was handed the chance to form Israel ’ s next government even though his party won fewer votes in the latest election -- yet another twist in the

Israel ’ s president says he has given opposition leader Benny Gantz the first opportunity to form a new government , following an inconclusive national election earlier this month. Reuven Rivlin’s office announced the president ’s decision late on Sunday after he consulted with leaders of all of the

Benny Gantz wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera: FILE PHOTO: Leader of Blue and White party, Benny Gantz looks on after voting at a polling station in Israel's national election in Rosh Ha'ayin, Israel March 2, 2020. REUTERS/Nir Elias/File Photo © Nir Elias/Reuters FILE PHOTO: Leader of Blue and White party, Benny Gantz looks on after voting at a polling station in Israel's national election in Rosh Ha'ayin, Israel March 2, 2020. REUTERS/Nir Elias/File Photo

JERUSALEM —President Reuven Rivlin said Sunday he will give former military chief of staff Benny Gantz the first chance at forming the next Israeli government after he was recommended for the task by a majority of lawmakers. The step comes two weeks after a third general election in less than a year produced no clear winner, continuing the country's political paralysis.

But Gantz, who was unable to form a government after the previous vote in September, still has a mammoth task ahead of him in securing support from unlikely and ideologically opposing parties who might or might not agree to serve in a coalition. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been similarly unable to form a government.

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Opposition leader Benny Gantz will be asked to form a new government , Israel ' s president said on Sunday, March 15, boosting his chances of ousting And on Sunday Mr. Gantz won support from two key parties, leading President Reuven Rivlin to say that he would get the first chance at forming a

Israeli’s political stalemate has been exacerbated in recent weeks by the novel coronavirus pandemic. On Saturday, Israel increased nationwide emergency measures it hoped would slow the spread of the virus, including closing schools, universities and all places of entertainment. The number of confirmed cases of covid-19 in Israel stands at 213, with no fatalities.

Immediately following the March 2 vote, it appeared that Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party had gained the edge over Gantz’s Blue and White alliance, securing 36 seats in Israel’s 120-seat parliament, the Knesset, to become the largest faction. Four smaller, right-wing, religious parties immediately threw their support behind Netanyahu, giving him a secure bloc of 58 seats.

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Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has called on Benny Gantz to form a government after the Blue and White leader received more endorsements. Liberman has proposed a unity government of the two major parties only, a move that will likely be rejected because it would mean the end of Netanyahu’ s

“I give you my word, I will do all in my ability to establish within a few days as broad and patriotic a government as possible,” Gantz , leader of the centrist Blue and White party, said in a ceremony next to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. Gantz has the support of 61 of parliament’ s 120 legislators.

An Israeli election monitor wearing gloves sorts envelopes as votes cast by Israelis in home-quarantine over coronavirus concerns following Israel's national election are counted, in Shoham, Israel March 4, 2020. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun © Reuters An Israeli election monitor wearing gloves sorts envelopes as votes cast by Israelis in home-quarantine over coronavirus concerns following Israel's national election are counted, in Shoham, Israel March 4, 2020. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

But Gantz, whose party won 33 seats, appeared to have forged alliances in recent days with two unlikely partners: The Joint List of Arab-majority parties, which gained 15 seats, and the right-wing nationalistic secular party headed by Avigdor Liberman, which won seven. The factions have wildly incompatible ideologies, but they share the goal of ousting Netanyahu and ushering in new leadership in Israel.

Both parties recommended to the president on Sunday that Gantz become the next prime minister. With the support of six members of the left-wing Labor-Meretz faction (one member decided to abstain), he had 61 votes, a narrow majority that left Rivlin with no choice but to hand him the mandate to form a government.

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Benny Gantz has been tapped by Israel ' s President to form a coalition Government . Both men have voiced support for an interim unity Government to Mr Netanyahu was in January formally charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust, becoming the first Israeli Prime Minister ever indicted in office.

From left, Israel ’ s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and Benny Gantz , Mr. Netanyahu’s main challenger, at a Mr. Rivlin’s role is largely ceremonial, but after last week’s inconclusive vote it is up to him to decide who will get the first crack at forming a government and

But it was far from certain that Gantz would succeed this time either. Although Gantz needs only a simple majority, no Arab-majority party since Israel’s creation in 1948 has been invited or willing to join a government.

Benjamin Netanyahu wearing a suit and tie: FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for a speech at his Jerusalem office, regarding the new measures that will be taken to fight the coronavirus, March 14, 2020. Gali Tibbon/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo © Pool/Reuters FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for a speech at his Jerusalem office, regarding the new measures that will be taken to fight the coronavirus, March 14, 2020. Gali Tibbon/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo For many in Israel’s Jewish majority, the idea of Arab lawmakers in such a high level of governance triggers deep concerns, ideological and psychological, over the fate of Israel as a Jewish state. There are lawmakers in Gantz’s own Blue and White party who have said they would not support such an arrangement.

For Israeli Arabs, remaining outside the government is part of an ideological protest over Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinians and its treatment of Arab citizens. It’s also unlikely the Joint List would support a government that included Liberman, a hawkish former defense minister who has made clear his disdain for the country’s 1.8 million Arab minority.

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Israel ’ s president gives Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the first chance to form the next government , after coalition talks with rival Benny Gantz break down. President Reuven Rivlin taps incumbent to try to cobble together a governing majority after coalition talks with Gantz break down.

Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz will be given the first opportunity to form a new government after an inconclusive national election this month, the country' s president said Sunday, raising questions about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu' s political future.

In an unusual move Sunday, Rivlin invited Gantz and Netanyahu to his residence for a joint meeting. Analysts speculated the president would put pressure on the two leaders to find a way to join forces, especially as the coronavirus crisis deepens.

Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz © AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz “Dealing with emergencies has never been at the expense of Israeli democracy, but has rather strengthened it and made our country more resilient,” the president said before the meeting. “We are committed, more than ever, in light of the urgent need for a government, to hold essential democratic processes, even in a time of crisis.”

Netanyahu asked Gantz last week to join him in an emergency national unity government to confront the pandemic. The two leaders spoke Thursday night.

But over the weekend, Gantz appeared to question Netanyahu’s motives, suggesting he was not serious about sharing power.

Blue and White’s election campaign was focused on not joining a coalition with Netanyahu, who in November became the first Israeli prime minister to be indicted in three criminal probes.

After Saturday’s announcement of new measures to fight the coronavirus, Justice Minister Amir Ohana, a close ally of the prime minister, froze the court system, effectively postponing Netanyahu’s trial, which had been set to start Tuesday.

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A lady casts her vote in Israeli Legislative Elections at a local Polling Station in Jerusalem. On Monday, March 2, 2020, in Jerusalem, Israel. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images) © Getty A lady casts her vote in Israeli Legislative Elections at a local Polling Station in Jerusalem. On Monday, March 2, 2020, in Jerusalem, Israel. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“Netanyahu, let's not manipulate the public,” Gantz tweeted Sunday. “If you're interested in unity, why postpone your trial and send the proposal for an “emergency government” to the press, rather than via your negotiating team? Opposed to you, I will continue to support every appropriate governmental measure, putting aside political considerations. When you get serious, we can talk.”

In a response, the Likud party said “While Prime Minister Netanyahu is managing an unprecedented global and national crisis, Gantz has galloped toward a minority government that depends on supporters of terror instead of joining a national emergency government that would save lives.”

Later, after meeting with Rivlin, Gantz and Netanyahu issued a rare joint statement thanking the president and saying their negotiating teams would meet in the coming days. It was not whether they had made any progress in bridging the gaps between them.

ruth.eglash@washpost.com

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