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US News Netanyahu rival becomes parliament speaker, signaling deal

18:45  26 march  2020
18:45  26 march  2020 Source:   msn.com

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The parliament announced that Gantz was the only candidate to succeed Netanyahu ally Yuli Edelstein, who resigned as speaker on Wednesday. Israel’s Supreme Court arranged for a vote for a parliamentary speaker to be held later in the day in a showdown with the ally of Netanyahu .

The speaker of Israel's parliament , an ally of Benjamin Netanyahu , resigned Wednesday, clearing the way for a vote The resignation comes after a year of political turmoil that has seen three inconclusive elections, and after Netanyahu imposed strict legal and security measures to deal with the pandemic.

FILE - In this Saturday, March 14, 2020 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for a speech from his Jerusalem office, saying Israel's restaurants and places of entertainment will be closed to stop the spread of the coronavirus. With the Israeli government enacting a series of emergency measures to stem the spread of the virus, critics are increasingly bemoaning that Israel's caretaker Prime Minister Netanyahu is exploiting the crisis to entrench himself in power and undermining the country's democratic foundations. (Gali Tibbon/Pool via AP, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Saturday, March 14, 2020 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for a speech from his Jerusalem office, saying Israel's restaurants and places of entertainment will be closed to stop the spread of the coronavirus. With the Israeli government enacting a series of emergency measures to stem the spread of the virus, critics are increasingly bemoaning that Israel's caretaker Prime Minister Netanyahu is exploiting the crisis to entrench himself in power and undermining the country's democratic foundations. (Gali Tibbon/Pool via AP, File)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's chief rival was chosen on Thursday as the new speaker of parliament, an unexpected step that could pave the way to a power-sharing deal between the two men as the country grapples with a worsening coronavirus crisis.

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Benny Gantz, Netanyahu ’s chief rival , had planned to gather enough lawmakers to oust Edelstein and elect a new speaker this week. Under parliamentary regulations, Edelstein’s resignation will only take effect in two days, probably postponing political battles into next week.

The move signaled his agreement to a demand by Mr. Netanyahu and paved the way for Mr. Gantz to sit in a Netanyahu -led emergency unity Mr. Netanyahu has been urging Mr. Gantz to join forces with him to fight the coronavirus crisis after the most recent election, on March 2, left neither of them in a

The sudden turnabout by Benny Gantz, who has spent the past year trying to topple Netanyahu in three inconclusive elections, appeared to give the embattled prime minister a new lease on life as he prepares to go on trial for corruption charges. It also drew angry criticism from his political partners and looked likely to rip apart his Blue and White party, an alliance of thee-anti-Netanyahu factions.

The vote passed 74-18, with many of Gantz's former allies, including half of Blue and White, skipping the vote.

“Democracy has won,” Gantz declared in his first speech as speaker, saying he had taken the unpopular step to deal with the national emergency.

An Israeli supporter of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu protests in front Israel's Supreme Court, in Jerusalem, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Israel appeared on the verge of a constitutional crisis Tuesday as top members of Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud urged their party colleague and parliament speaker to defy a Supreme Court order to hold an election for the prime minister's successor. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit) © Provided by Associated Press An Israeli supporter of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu protests in front Israel's Supreme Court, in Jerusalem, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Israel appeared on the verge of a constitutional crisis Tuesday as top members of Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud urged their party colleague and parliament speaker to defy a Supreme Court order to hold an election for the prime minister's successor. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit) “These are not regular days and they demand irregular decisions. Therefore as I said, I intend to examine and advance in every way the establishment of national emergency government,” he said. “We will not compromise on the principles that more than 1 million citizens voted for. Netantyahu knows that well.”

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Israeli parliament speaker Yuli Edelstein, an ally of Benjamin Netanyahu , could by replaced by an opponent of the embattled premier Eric Feferberg AFP/File. Israel's parliamentary speaker , an ally of Benjamin Netanyahu , resigned Wednesday, clearing the way for a vote that could see him

The speaker of the Israeli parliament , Netanyahu ally Yuli Edelstein, has resigned, clearing the way for the election of an opponent of the veteran premier Eric Feferberg AFP/File. "I hereby resign from my position as speaker of the Knesset," Edelstein said, in a move that could see a member of the

But in a string of speeches ahead of the vote, a string of opposition lawmakers who had all previously backed Gantz streamed into the empty parliament chamber one after another to rail against him. Only a few people were allowed in at a time due to restrictions on public gatherings.

“This is a dark day,” said Nitzan Horowitz, leader of the liberal Meretz party, in a speech ahead of the vote. “There are no other ways to describe the runaround going on here.”

Israel’s Channel 12 TV reported that Gantz and Netanyahu had agreed on a broad coalition in which Netanyahu would remain as prime minister and Gantz would become his foreign minister. In September 2021, the two are to swap posts, the report said.

Israelis hold national flags during a protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside the national parliament in Jerusalem, Monday, March 23, 2020. The opposition has accused Netanyahu of using the coronavirus crisis as cover to undermine the country's democratic institutions. With the country in near-shutdown mode, Netanyahu has already managed to postpone his own pending criminal trial and authorize unprecedented electronic surveillance of Israeli citizens. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner) © Provided by Associated Press Israelis hold national flags during a protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside the national parliament in Jerusalem, Monday, March 23, 2020. The opposition has accused Netanyahu of using the coronavirus crisis as cover to undermine the country's democratic institutions. With the country in near-shutdown mode, Netanyahu has already managed to postpone his own pending criminal trial and authorize unprecedented electronic surveillance of Israeli citizens. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner) There was no comment from Blue and White, while Likud dismissed the reports as “rumors.”

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A right-wing ally of Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stepped down as speaker of parliament on Wednesday in a blow to the embattled Yuli Edelstein's resignation paved the way for Netanyahu 's rival Benny Gantz, who is trying to form a government, to place an ally in the powerful

Yuli Edelstein's resignation paves the way for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 's rival Benny Gantz, who is trying to form a government, to place an ally JERUSALEM – A right-wing ally of Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stepped down as speaker of parliament on Wednesday, March 25, in

The political fireworks come just as the government enacted new restrictions requiring Israelis to almost completely stay at home, under threat of fines. Over 2,600 Israelis have been infected by the new virus, with 41 in serious condition. Eight Israelis have died.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in two weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or even death. The virus is highly contagious and can be spread by those showing no symptoms.

Gallery: Coronavirus pandemic (Photos)

With the country’s coronavirus crisis worsening by the day, Netanyahu has called for an emergency unity government, most recently in a nationally televised speech Wednesday night.

Gantz has previously rejected Netanyahu’s overtures, citing the prime minister’s upcoming trial on corruption charges. Members of Blue and White believe Netanyahu is using the crisis to shield himself from prosecution and expressed skepticism that Netanyahu would keep his word to relinquish power next year.

But after an appeal for unity by the country's figurehead president, Gantz agreed on Thursday to resume unity talks with Netanyahu.

Netanyahu’s Likud emerged as the largest party in the March 2 election, but along with his smaller religious and nationalist allies, fell short of security the required majority in parliament.

‏A municipality worker blocks the door as a firefighter sprays disinfectant as a precaution‏ against the coronavirus at the Moshe Dayan Railway Station in Rishon LeTsiyon, Israel, Sunday, March 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit) © Provided by Associated Press ‏A municipality worker blocks the door as a firefighter sprays disinfectant as a precaution‏ against the coronavirus at the Moshe Dayan Railway Station in Rishon LeTsiyon, Israel, Sunday, March 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit) Gantz is backed by a slim majority in the newly elected Knesset and has been pushing for the country’s legislature to continue functioning at such a critical time, even without a permanent government in place.

Blue and White had been marching forward in parliament with planned legislation that could have made Netanyahu ineligible from continuing as prime minister.

Parliament had been expected to approve Meir Cohen of Gantz's centrist Blue and White party late Thursday as the new Knesset speaker. That would have allowed the bloc to proceed with planned legislation that includes a ban on indicted politicians, such as Netanyahu, from serving as prime minister.

But at the last minute, Gantz vetoed Cohen's nomination and proposed himself instead. Cohen's Yesh Atid faction, a member of the Blue and White alliance, planned to skip Thursday's vote in protest.

‏A firefighter sprays disinfectant as a precaution‏ against the coronavirus at the Moshe Dayan Railway Station in Rishon LeTsiyon, Israel, Sunday, March 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit) © Provided by Associated Press ‏A firefighter sprays disinfectant as a precaution‏ against the coronavirus at the Moshe Dayan Railway Station in Rishon LeTsiyon, Israel, Sunday, March 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit) Parliament called Thursday's vote at the order of the country's Supreme Court. The previous speaker, Yuli Edelstein, resigned in protest Wednesday, after attempting to stall the vote.

Edelstein, a close Netanyahu ally from the prime minister's Likud party, had cited restrictions on large gatherings due to the spread of the coronavirus in suspending parliamentary activity.

But opponents accused him of clinging to his seat even though he lacked majority support in order to shield his party leader Netanyahu from legislation that would limit his lengthy rule.

Netanyahu's caretaker government has passed a series of emergency executive measures to try and quell the spread of the new virus. They have included authorizing unprecedented electronic surveillance of Israeli citizens and a slowdown of court activity that forced the postponement of Netanyahu's own pending criminal trial on serious corruption charges.

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