Right-wing parties to remain in a bloc until the end

Right-wing parties refuse to sign document backing Netanyahu as PM candidate at deciding stages of gov't formation.

Hezki Baruch ,

Netanyahu and leaders of right-wing parties
Netanyahu and leaders of right-wing parties

Political sources said on Wednesday evening that the leaders of the right-wing parties had requested not to sign a document backing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as their candidate for the premiership, if both he and a second candidate fail to form a coalition, because they did not want to undermine the efforts to achieve a unity government at this stage.

According to Israeli law, if the first candidate tasked by the president with forming a government fails to do so within the allotted six-week timeframe, the president can task a second candidate with forming a coalition within a four-week timeframe. Should this candidate also fail in forming a coalition, there is a 21-day period in which 61 MKs can back a candidate, before the Knesset must be dissolved and a new election called.

The officials explained that all the leaders of the right-wing factions made clear during their meeting with Netanyahu that they intended to remain united in the bloc of 55 MKs from the right-wing parties around Netanyahu's candidacy for all stages of the government's establishment, including the 21-day period.

Earlier on Wednesday, Netanyahu and Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman spoke via telephone about the possibility of cooperation to form a government in light of the impasse in unity talks with the Blue and White party.

"There is no point in wasting the state's time. We will meet, see if it is serious or no, and then act accordingly," Netanyahu told Liberman.

The two will meet at the Prime Minister's Office at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday morning.

Liberman wrote on Facebook account after the conversation, "Today I was invited by Prime Minister Netanyahu to a meeting tomorrow at 9:30 in his office. As I said immediately after the election, and before and after the meeting with Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz, if we are officially invited we will come, and indeed there will be a meeting tomorrow."

"It should be noted that all our efforts are to establish a national unity government consisting of three parties – Yisrael Beytenu, the Likud, and Blue and White. We made this position clear before the elections, during the elections, after the elections, and even today after the meeting of the party leadership. We will not be partners in any other government," Liberman clarified.

"Unfortunately, today I saw the Likud sacrificing MK Avi Dichter and moving him from the post of chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee while zealously keeping MK Moshe Gafni as chairman of the Finance Committee. I was equally sorry to see Blue and White collaborate with the Joint List and the haredim and agreeing to leave MK Gafni as the one in charge of the valve as chairman of the Finance Committee," Liberman concluded.