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Citing broken agreements, Netanyahu says ‘no doubt’ elections are on the way

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In a sign of the nearing of the long-expected fall of the government, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that there was “no doubt” elections are coming, and blamed his coalition partners.

“When agreements are not respected on the part of Blue and White, there is no doubt that we are on the way to elections,” he said in response to a question about the snowballing rift between his Likud party and its coalition partner.

“If we see a different approach from the Blue and White side and cooperation within the government, instead of a government within a government, we can continue to work together. If not, everyone can understand that this will lead to elections,” the prime minister said, blaming Benny Gantz’s party for the breakdown in relations within the coalition.

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Speculation of early elections has been rampant in recent days, with the government teetering amid a budget impasse and Gantz’s announcement last week of the formation of a government committee to investigate the so-called submarine affair that has ensnared several of Netanyahu’s allies.

Under the coalition deal between the Likud party, led by Netanyahu, and Blue and White, the two agreed to pass a budget running through 2021. Netanyahu, however, is now insisting on separate budgets for 2020 and 2021, with a failure to pass a budget allowing him to avoid handing the premiership over to Gantz and instead go to elections.

If the budget issue is not resolved by late December, early elections would automatically be called, the fourth in two years.

Frustrated by the deadlock, Gantz said earlier this month that he had instructed his party to gather together “all of the relevant bills that will advance equality, fight corruption and other values that are important to us.”

The move would potentially include putting forward legislation to limit the term of the prime minister or prevent a prime minister from serving under indictment — proposals that would likely have the backing of a majority of the Knesset if supported by Blue and White but go against the coalition agreement signed with Likud. Defense Minister Benny........

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