In Israel, Benny Gantz fails to form a government

This failure, which follows that of outgoing Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, increases the possibility of new parliamentary elections. The third since April.

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Benny Gantz, November 10, 2019. Heidi Levine / AP

A month after the failure of Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, it is the turn of his rival to throw in the towel. Former army chief Benny Gantz on Wednesday (November 20th) told Israeli President Reouven Rivlin his inability to form a unity government. "I raised every stone to try to form a government of national unity", swore Gantz at a press conference.

The parliamentary elections in September failed to clearly separate Mr. Netanyahu, outgoing prime minister, and Mr. Gantz, who did not have the support, with their respective allies, to claim a parliamentary majority.

President Réouven Rivlin initially mandated Benyamin Netanyahu, who has been in power since 2009, to form a government. At the head of a right-wing religious bloc of 54 deputies, he failed to win enough votes to reach the threshold of majority (61) in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, and had himself renounced to form a government on October 21st. On 23 October, Rivlin told the former army chief that he was to form a government to take the country out of the longest political stalemate in its history. The latter, leader of the party Blue White (center), had until Wednesday evening to manage to form a coalition government. In vain.

Read the portrait: Who is Benny Gantz, the first rival of Benyamin Netanyahu?

"The people can not be hostage to an extremist minority"

Mr. Gantz was unable to convince Avigdor Lieberman, leader of a non-aligned party, Israel Beitenou, to join him in a coalition, or Mr. Netanyahu to share power in a rotating system. "I ran into a wall of losers (elections) who did everything to prevent Israeli citizens from benefiting from a government under my direction "he commented. "Netanyahu has privileged his personal interests (…) and must remember that we are still in a democracy and that the majority of the people voted for a policy different from theirs ", added the ex-military. "The people can not be held hostage to an extremist minority" argued one who sought to form a union government "Liberal".

Faced with this impasse, the Israeli president can give Knesset MPs three weeks to propose names of elected officials likely to succeed where the two great party leaders have failed. If, at the end of this eventual new deadline, no political figure succeeds in imposing himself at the head of the government, Israel will return to the polls for the third time since April.

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