'We will drink up their seats with a straw'

Likud minister says his party is not intentionally pushing for elections, but is also not afraid of the fall of the government.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Tzachi Hanegbi
Tzachi Hanegbi
Miri Tzachi/TPS

Minister of Regional Cooperation Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) is not worried about the possibility of early elections.

"I think that the prime minister identifies the public atmosphere, especially in the national camp, which is suffused with anger at the suffering that Netanyahu is going through. It is very possible that Likud could succeed in reaching its greatest achievement since Menachem Begin as things stand. We are ready for a scenario in which, if the other parties scuttle the continued existence of the government, we will literally 'drink up' their seats,” Hanegbi told Reshet Bet.

However, Hanegbi said that the decision to go to elections has not yet been made. "Even if there is no majority for the Draft Law and there is no majority for the Budget Law, it does not mean that there have to be elections. It means that we are entering the holiday with a government that has not managed to pass a budget or a law. Even if a minister is fired, at a moment when an election law [establishing a date for early elections] has not passed three readings, not much has changed.”

Asked whether the prime minister would dismiss Minister Sofa Landver from Yisrael Beytenu if she voted against the Draft Law, Hanegbi replied, "I do not think he has a choice. It is unacceptable for a minister to vote against the position of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation [which defines the coalition’s stance on bills] - otherwise, every minister comes with his or her own agenda, and it is simply a sign of disintegration. Therefore, if a minister indeed chooses to vote against the government's position, the practical significance is that she knows that this is her last vote as a minister. "

And why not allow a coalition of 61 MKs if Yisrael Beytenu quits the coalition? Hanegbi explains, "I was the chairman of the coalition in the first year of the government [when the government still had 61 seats before Yisrael Beytenu joined], and we really lived from day to day, which was impossible, nor was it a normal scenario for leading a state."