Liberman Predicts Elections by 2016

Yisrael Beytenu chairman says a coalition made up of 61 MKs will be short-lived, insists it's Likud's fault that he chose not to join.

Elad Benari ,

Avigdor Liberman
Avigdor Liberman
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman predicted on Monday night that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s new coalition will be short-lived.

Speaking to Channel 2 News’ late night edition, hours after he dropped a bombshell and announced he would not join the coalition, Liberman predicted that there would be new elections in Israel by 2016, if not later this year.

“It's hard to function with such a government [comprised of 61 MKs],” he said, adding that when there is a narrow government “one can pass a vote of confidence, but the parliamentary committees cannot function this way.”

Liberman said he is convinced that the elections will be held as early as 2016, and perhaps even later this year, but he refused to take responsibility for this possibility, claiming only the Likud is at fault.

"I have a direct connection, but the Likud is responsible for this. The Likud closed a deal in advance with the haredim and effectively closed all options for Yisrael Beytenu to join the government,” he said.

"From the first meeting between the negotiating teams, we made it clear that we want to be part of the coalition, but not at any price,” continued Liberman. "We understand that you cannot expect to receive 100 percent of your demands, but ultimately we care about which package comes out in the end, and whether we can live with it or not.”

Liberman’s announcement earlier Monday was met with outrage on the part of the Likud. A senior official in the party called Liberman “a cynical politician, a great opportunist, who planned a putsch against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the previous government, and aspired to be a compromise candidate for prime minister after the election."

Another Likud official accused Liberman of revenge tactics, after the 2015 elections saw the party's influence cut in half.

Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon expressed distress over the announcement, saying, "Today, unfortunately, we learned that we are apparently going to a government of 61. I said it before and I say it again today: a government of 61 is not a good government.”