Jerusalem, March 8 (IANS) The Israeli political deadlock has continued days after a third general election ended in similar results to the previous two polls, with incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival Blue and White leader Benny Gantz each ruling out the other.
Speaking to supporters on Saturday night, Netanyahu, the country’s longest serving Prime Minister, said he was “not going anywhere”, reports Xinhua news agency
He also dismissed a bill being proposed by the Blue and White party aimed at disqualifying him from forming a government saying the opposition was “trying to steal the elections through deceit and anti-democratic legislation”.
Netanyahu is scheduled to appear in court in less than two weeks as a defendant on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
According to the current Israeli law, an indicted Prime Minister is allowed to remain in office until a final ruling by the supreme court is handed down.
But the Blue and White was looking to change that. Gantz vowed not to sit in the same government with an indicted leader.
In a separate press conference held immediately after Netanyahu’s, Gantz said he would not disclose the details of his sensitive negotiations but he intends to form a government in the immediate future.
“The Netanyahu era is over,” he told reporters.
Netanyahu leads the right-wing bloc which has 58 seats of the 120 seats in the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset.
The bloc opposing Netanyahu has 62 members, but is incohesive and it is difficult to see how Gantz will be able to form a stable coalition. His potential partners are staunch rivals hawkish Avigdor Lieberman who heads the Yisrael Beiteinu party and the Joint List of Arab parties.
Chances of cooperation between these two parties are slim.
However, the fact that they hold a majority of Parliament increases their ability to pass legislature that would end Netanyahu’s reign.