Likud: Liberman blocking formation of right-wing government

Netanyahu calls party leaders in for urgent meeting as coalition talks stall ahead of deadline. Liberman declines request to join meeting.

Nitsan Keidar ,

Kobi Gideon/GPO

Former Defense Minister Avidgor Liberman is responsible for preventing the Likud from establishing a right-wing coalition government, the Likud accused Thursday, as coalition talks stalled with less than one week left to form a coalition.

With the May 29th deadline fast approaching, talks to form a new coalition government have stalled, with no clear path forward for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to secure a 61-seat majority necessary to form the next government.

In a bid to bring potential coalition partners together, Netanyahu has invited party leaders to an urgent meeting slated for 8:00 p.m. Thursday evening – a meeting Yisrael Beytenu chief Avidgor Liberman has refused to attend. Likud officials, meanwhile, have accused Liberman of blocking the formation of a right-wing coalition government with the two haredi factions.

“Liberman promised his voters that he would back the formation of a right-wing government led by Netanyahu,” Likud officials said Thursday. “Now he’s using every excuse possible to block the establishment of that very kind of government, making it possible for the establishment of a left-wing government.”

With the Likud unable to reach a compromise deal on key issues like the draft deferment program enabling both Yisrael Beytenu and the haredi factions to join the new government, Netanyahu has reached out to the remaining coalition partners – the United Right, Kulanu, Shas, and United Torah Judaism – to help him establish a temporary 60-MK coalition. Such an arrangement, which would leave the government without an absolute majority, would require Liberman to vote with the coalition from the opposition, or to abstain at key votes.