Miki Zohar
Miki Zohar צילום: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The Likud will work to form an alternate coalition government if the present government falls, Coalition Chairman Miki Zohar (Likud) said Tuesday morning.

Speaking with Radio 103FM, Zohar said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is looking to avoid new elections, and will turn to Yisrael Beytenu and Yamina to try to form a narrow right-wing government if Blue and White refuses to back down on its demand that the government pass a two-year spending plan.

“We won’t endanger the Israeli economy, we won’t do it,” Zohar said, referring to demands by Blue and White that the Likud back a two-year spending plan.

The Likud has argued that the government must alter its plan to pass a two-year budget because of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, claiming that the changes in revenue and spending make it impossible to pass a biannual budget at this time.

“The Prime Minister doesn’t want new elections, he wants a stable economy here. We want to pass a budget immediately.”

“If Blue and White decides to back a one-year budget, then everything will be fine.”

Zohar emphasized that while the Likud is not currently in talks with either Yisrael Beytenu or Yamina, it will work to form a narrow government with the two factions if it becomes clear there is no chance to keep the current government intact.

“Right now there are no negotiations with Bennett or Liberman for the formation of a narrow government. But if we feel that the coalition with Gantz is coming apart, we will start negotiations. We have no intention of giving in to Gantz’s ultimatum that the law delaying the deadline be passed by three Knesset votes within the next 24 hours.”

The government has until August 15th to pass a spending plan or face the dissolution of the Knesset and early elections.

The Derech Eretz party, however, has proposed voting to change the deadline, to allow the two sides a chance to reach an agreement.

The Likud initially signaled it would back the bill, and Monday evening, Gantz demanded that Netanyahu work to pass the bill in all three Knesset votes within 24 hours or face new elections.

Netanyahu rejected the ultimatum, calling on Gantz to back a one-year spending plan.

Yesh Atid-Telem chief Yair Lapid criticized the Derech Eretz plan, which would push off the budget deadline by 100 days, calling it “harmful”.

“It’s a decision which isn’t a decision.”