Benjamin Netanyahu Faces Exit As Opposition Form ‘Government Of Change’
Israel’s prime minister has found himself in a precarious position after the country’s opposition leader told President Reuven Rivlin he had succeeded in gaining support for a ‘government of change’.
The news, which comes after days of negotiations, means Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu could be in danger of losing the position he has held for the last 12 years.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid announced his success to the president less than an hour before a midnight deadline, explaining he had the support of a majority of opposition parties for his new government.
The ‘government of change’, as it has been dubbed, is said to be made up of a mix of rivals who have come together through their desire to see Netanyahu lose power. It includes the establishment Labor and anti-occupation Meretz, as well as Yisrael Beiteinu, a hardline secular party led by a Moldova-born settler named Avigdor Lieberman.
Speaking to Rivlin, per The Guardian, Lapid said:
I am honoured to inform you that I have succeeded in forming a government.
I commit to you Mr President, that this government will work to serve all the citizens of Israel – including those who aren’t members of it – will respect those who oppose it, and do everything in its power to unite all parts of Israeli society.
The success of the coalition does not immediately end Netanyahu’s time as prime minister, as first lawmakers will need to vote on the deal. In an effort to stop Lapid from taking power, Netanyahu is expected to try and convince lawmakers to defect and prevent the opposition leader from having a 61-set majority in the 120-seat Knesset.
Lapid’s government would see his former rival and far-right politician Naftali Bennett become prime minister for the first two years, rather than having Lapid take office straight away.
Bennett’s support was key to the success of the coalition, which also found backing from a small party of Arab Islamists who signed just a couple of hours before the deadline.
The move marked the first time a party from Israel’s Arab minority joined a government, with United Arab List leader Mansour Abbas seeking greater resources and rights for Israel’s Palestinian citizens.
Abbas said joining the coalition was a ‘difficult decision’, telling reporters: ‘This is the first time an Arab party is a partner in the formation of a government. This agreement has a lot of things for the benefit of Arab society, and Israeli society in general.’
Lawmakers are expected to vote on Lapid’s deal next week, after which there will be a swearing-in.
Featured Image Credit: PA Images
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