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Iran Press TV

Two key Netanyahu rivals reach agreement to unseat Israel's longest-sitting PM

Iran Press TV

Wednesday, 02 June 2021 10:14 AM

Israel's so-called centrist opposition figure Yair Lapid is closer than ever to unseat 12-year prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu after reaching an agreement to form a coalition cabinet.

Several parties including Lapid's Yesh Atid party agreed with Israeli minister of military affairs Benny Gantz's Blue and White party to form a new cabinet.

In a joint statement on Wednesday, Yesh Atid and Blue and White parties said they had agreed that Gantz would remain the minister of military affairs in the new cabinet.

Lapid has until midnight Wednesday to present a final slate, after Netanyahu failed to do so in the wake of an inconclusive March 23 election.

The 57-year-old Netanyahu has yet to reach a deal with his main partner, Naftali Bennett, who would serve as premier first under a proposed rotation between the two.

According to a Lapid spokesman, agreements have been reached with the left-wing Meretz and center-left Labor parties as well as with former war minister Avigdor Lieberman's extremist Yisrael Beitenu party.

If Lapid fails to meet the Wednesday deadline, Israel's Knesset will have three weeks to agree on a new candidate. And if that fails as well, the entity will have to hold its fifth election in some two years.

Netanyahu has said Bennett is trying to form a "leftist" ruling structure that would ensure his rise to premiership.

In remarks on Sunday, he said Bennett was trying to pre-empt another election, because "he knows that his party will not secure enough votes."

Bennett, Netanyahu said, had been sowing "discord, division, and hatred" against him.

Such a "leftist" ruling coalition would present "a danger for the security" of the Israeli regime, he said, adding, "Imagine what would happen in Iran, Gaza, and Washington, should a leftist coalition take shape."

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