Lieberman Hints at Lapid for Finance Minister
Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman addressed the election results in a press conference Wednesday afternoon and spoke about the formation of a coalition government, calling Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid "a natural choice for finance minister."
Lieberman said that in forming the next coalition, Likud / Yisrael Beytenu "will not exclude anyone and I have no doubt that even the religious parties understand that we can not continue this way as if nothing has happened and they will also have to be flexible. Anyone who accepts these principles will be more than welcome to take part in the coalition."
In regards to the partnership with Yair Lapid, Lieberman said, "There is no doubt that with 19 Knesset seats, Lapid will be a senior member of the government."
"I think that specifically Yair Lapid, who spoke a lot about the middle class and social protests, would naturally be in charge of domestic issues and would maybe be finance minister, but this is just speculation."
"It's too early to understand all the implications, but what is clear is that the nation wants a dramatic change when it comes to the domestic system more than anything else," said Lieberman.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu laid out the main agenda of the next government, saying, "The Israeli public…wants me to build a coalition that will create three major changes domestically: more equal distribution of the national burden, affordable housing, and a change in the system of government."
Lieberman added that the government must clearly define its agenda before worrying about individual ministerial positions.
"I suggest to the parties who consider themselves partners, to define our common goals. There are some who might agree on foreign policy issues but it is not certain that we agree on the internal changes... We are talking about a broad coalition, and should not talk about positions in the government but rather a clear agenda," said Lieberman.
Lieberman revealed no regrets about his party's union with Likud, even though the party received much less seats than expected.
"Our union with Likud has achieved two things: the continuity of the national camp as leaders of the country even during the next term and the continuity of the prime minister in the next term," said Lieberman. "Without this union the picture would probably be completely different."