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Last minute maneuvers as Netanyahu’s mandate to form government set to expire

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04.05.2021

With Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s mandate to form a government set to expire at Midnight Tuesday, both sides were making last-minute attempts to secure an elusive majority, largely centered on Yamina leader Naftali Bennett and securing the support of the Islamist Ra’am party.

Though Yamina won just seven seats in the March election, Bennett has become a potential kingmaker and even king.

As the deadline approached, Netanyahu said Monday that he was ready to step aside as premier and let Bennett serve as prime minister first in a rotation agreement — a proposal immediately dismissed by Bennett, who said in response that Netanyahu simply doesn’t have the votes.

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Meanwhile, opposition leader Yair Lapid said he expected Rivlin to task him with forming a government “if nothing surprising happens” before Tuesday night, but that he would willing to let Bennett serve first as prime minister in any rotation agreement between them. Yamina party leader Naftali Bennett speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset, on April 26, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Channel 13 reported Monday night that Lapid has offered Bennett to become prime minister first in their power-sharing agreement for a period of 2 years and three months, after which Bennett would be appointed foreign minister and Lapid would assume the premiership.

Lapid is also promising a senior portfolio for Yamina’s Ayelet Shaked (either interior or public security), and two or three additional portfolios for members of the seven-MK right-wing party, if a government is formed.

Lapid is also willing to give Bennett’s right-wing bloc within a prospective unity coalition wide veto powers, the network said.........

© The Times of Israel


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