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Iran Press TV

Israel headed for continued political crisis as Netanyahu's coalition deadline almost expires

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 04 May 2021 3:02 PM

A political crisis is dragging on for the Israeli regime as embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's deadline to form a new cabinet is due to expire shortly with no sign of success.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin tasked Netanyahu last month to enlist enough allies for a coalition after four inconclusive elections over a span of two years, but the mandate to form a new cabinet will expire at midnight on Tuesday.

The longest-serving Israeli prime minister, who has been in power consecutively since 2009 and is currently on trial for criminal corruption, had a 28-day deadline to forge a majority coalition and break more than two years of political deadlock before Rivlin would pick another candidate or ask parliament to choose one.

Media reports suggested that the Israeli president would probably choose opposition leader Yair Lapid for the task of cabinet formation instead of extending Netanyahu's mandate.

Lapid, whose centrist Yesh Atid party came in second to Netanyahu's right-wing Likud in the vote in March last year, had earlier proposed a coalition of the right, center, and left to oust Netanyahu.

The 57-year-old has said he will offer Naftali Bennett, the leader of the hawkish Yamina party, as the head of a power-sharing agreement, under which Bennett will serve as prime minister for two years and three months first and then Lapid will take over.

Should a new candidate tapped by Rivlin fail to forge a coalition within 28 days, the Israeli president can ask the Knesset to choose another one within three weeks; otherwise, Israeli voters would be asked to return to the polls for an unprecedented fifth election.

Israel has held four inconclusive elections in the past two years, the last of them on March 23 last year, which saw no parties wining a majority in the 120-member parliament.

Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party secured only 30 seats, also failing to secure support from other parties to reach a 61-seat majority.

Much of the crisis for the Israeli regime results from Netanyahu's legal troubles, with some allies saying they would not serve under a prime minister who is on trial for corruption.

Netanyahu has been charged with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in three long-running cases.

Protests against the Israeli prime minister — now popularly referred to as "crime minister" — have been held in the occupied territories for months, with protesters demanding his resignation.

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