Rerun of Israeli Elections?
Since besting his key opposition rival Benny Gantz in April 9 Knesset elections, Netanyahu has been unable to cobble together a ruling coalition regime.
He faces a midnight Wednesday deadline. If unable to accomplish what he failed to do for the past six weeks, snap Israeli elections are likely, a rerun of the April process.
If results favor Gantz this time, he’ll lose a chance for an unprecedented fifth term as Israeli prime minister.
The Likud party he heads enjoys only around 25% popular support, why creating an extremist right wing coalition is his only way to retain power.
Failing would delight millions of Israelis against his extremism, including Haaretz editors, on Wednesday ahead of the bewitching hour headlining: “Give Someone Else a Chance,” explaining:
Knesset legislation may be enacted, calling for snap elections. Passing Israeli laws requires three readings, one completed, two to go, likely if Netanyahu fails to form a coalition.
He’s “prepared to do anything to preserve his regime and evade prosecution,” said Haaretz editors, adding:
“After he dragged the country into early elections in an effort to act prior to the attorney general’s decision on whether to charge him, he made himself a hostage to his coalition partners in exchange for their support of legislation that would help him avoid trial.”
He aims to stay unaccountable for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust, serious offenses, what would have had ordinary Israelis behind bars long ago serving long prison terms.
Netanyahu’s lawyers got Israeli attorney general Avichai Mandelblit to postpone a hearing on his pending indictment until October, hoping to make it go away.
“Now that he has failed to form a government, he is trying to block the president from giving a different MK the mandate to do so,” said Haaretz editors.
Israel has no constitution, so-called Basic Laws instead. Clause 9A states:
Following Knesset elections “if the period passes and the MK (designated by Israel’s president) doesn’t inform the president that he has formed a government, or if he informs him earlier that he won’t be able to form a government…the president will assign the job of forming a government to a different member of Knesset who informs the president that he is prepared to accept the task.”
This should take place before dissolving the Knesset. Representing Gantz, Kahol Lavan said “(s)ince Netanyahu has not succeeded in forming a government, it would be appropriate to transfer the mandate to us.”
The prime minister intends doing whatever it takes to retain power, whether able to uncertain.
On Wednesday, Knesset members began debating whether to dissolve the body and hold new elections.
Likudniks and Yisrael Beytenu party head Avigdor Lieberman blame each other for the impasse, neither side yielding to the other.
Netanyahu slammed him, saying “(h)e appears to have decided to stay outside of the government and is dragging us all to (new) elections.”
Lieberman said he’ll only support Netanyahu if he agrees on a draft law requiring ultra-orthodox Israeli youths to perform IDF service, the measure opposed by ultra-orthodox parties the prime minister needs on board to form a coalition.
They’re willing to join a Netanyahu coalition only if the measure’s provisions are softened, what Lieberman rejects, on Tuesday saying:
“I thought I had seen it all, but I was shocked in the last two days from the power of the pressure, the paranoia, and the speculation I have been exposed to almost every minute.”
Barring a late 11th hour change of heart by one side or the other as midnight Wednesday approaches, a measure to dissolve the Knesset may pass, new elections to follow on a designated date to be named.
Three alternatives are possible. Netanyahu could form an 11th hour coalition. He could fail, the Knesset dissolved with new elections to follow, or he could fail twice over — unable to form a coalition, along with not convincing MKs to dissolve the Knesset.
If this happens, President Rivlin would designate another MK to try forming a coalition, namely Benny Gantz, runner up to Netanyahu on April 9.
With little time left, things are fast coming to a head, what’s coming to be known in hours.
Most likely, new elections are coming as Netanyahu and Lieberman haven’t compromised on where they stand, leaving impasse unresolved.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”