by: Moran Azulay
Wednesday, 25 March 2020 | Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday called on his political rival Blue & White Benny Gantz to meet with him and agree on terms for a unity government.
“Benny Gantz, it’s time to show leadership and national responsibility,” Netanyahu posted on his Twitter feed.
“The citizens of Israel need a unity government that will act to save their lives and livelihood. This is not the time for a fourth election. We both know that the differences are minor and could be overcome so we can form a government. Let us meet and form a government today. I am waiting for you.”
The prospect of a unity government seemed to be fading earlier Tuesday after the High Court instructed Knesset [Parliament] Speaker Yuli Edelstein to bring his replacement to a vote by Wednesday at the latest after he refused to commit to a date for the vote.
A panel of five judges decided unanimously that Edelstein must convene the Knesset plenum to vote on the matter posthaste and no later than today.
Chief Justice Esther Hayut wrote in the court’s ruling that, “The continued refusal to allow for a full Knesset vote for the election of a permanent Knesset Speaker undermines the foundations of the democratic process.”
Likud ministers fumed over Blue & White’s intention to replace the speaker with a member of their own party despite threats to discontinue unity talks.
Blue & White party members were equally outraged at what they saw as Netanyahu’s efforts to keep Edelstein in the speaker’s chair while trampling on the court in disregard for its authority.
Edelstein has yet to announce his decisions after the High Court’s unanimous ruling Monday but had earlier said that the High Court was “intervening in an unprecedented way in the Knesset timetable in a politically motivated manner,” increasing the tensions between the prime minister’s political camp and the judicial system.
Political sources say there have been no talks on a unity government between the two main Knesset factions since last Thursday.
Posted on March 25, 2020
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