Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week ruled out the idea of forming a national unity coalition with his main challenger, the centrist Blue and White party, ahead of new elections in Israel on 17th September.
In an article written for Israel Hayom on Wednesday, he wrote it was his “obligation to Likud voters” to form “a strong right wing government” and therefore to refuse a coalition with Benny Gantz’s centrist party.
Blue and White joint leader Benny Gantz responded by pointing out that Netanyahu has been happy to share power with the left-wing Labor party in the past. Gantz said rather, that the failure to create a unity coalition is due to his own refusal to work with Netanyahu, who is facing a corruption trial.
Gantz has said that he would consider forming a national unity government with Likud, but only if Netanyahu were no longer leader.
Polls currently predict that the right bloc in Israel will be unable to form a 61-seat majority Government without the support of Lieberman’s secular Yisrael Beitenu’s party.
Lieberman refused to join a Netanyahu-led coalition after April’s election and has said he will only back a unity government involving the Likud and Blue and White but without the ultra-Orthodox parties. Yisrael Beitenu is currently projected that his party will win 10 seats.
New elections come after Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition in April, and the Likud-drafted bill to dissolve the Knesset was passed 75-45.