Israel’s Gantz vows to form government without Netanyahu


PTI, Feb 16, 2020, 6:30 PM IST

Jerusalem: Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz is vowing to form a government that will include neither the indicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor the Arab parties in parliament.

In a series of TV interviews two weeks before national elections, Gantz looked to project confidence that the March 2 vote will provide the decisive outcome that eluded the two previous elections last year.

Gantz’s Blue and White party is currently polling ahead of Netanyahu’s Likud, although neither appears to have a clear path to a parliamentary majority required to form a coalition government.

Gantz laid out two potential paths while speaking to Channel 12 News on Saturday night.

He said that he’s either going to partner with a broad range of Jewish and democratic parties including the ultra-nationalist party led by apparent kingmaker Avigdor Lieberman.

Or he could team up with the ruling Likud Party, but only if it gets rid of longtime leader Netanyahu, who’s fending off a slew of criminal corruption charges.

Netanyahu has ended his historic role from a political standpoint. The Likud with Bibi cannot form a government, and without Bibi there’s unity,” he said, referring to Netanyahu by his nickname.

Gantz, a former military chief, has been campaigning furiously in pursuit of a knockout punch as the election grows nearer.

He appears to have grown closer to Lieberman, whose nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party has bolted from Netanyahu’s right-wing camp and sparked the unprecedented stalemate in Israeli politics that led to the multiple repeat elections.

Both deny they have reached any pre-election alliance, but Lieberman has all but ruled out sitting in government with his former mentor.

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