Yamina party chief Naftali Bennett is working to find a path towards a stable governing coalition, with a preference for a right-wing government led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Channel 12 reported Sunday.
After meetings with Netanyahu and Opposition Leader Yair Lapid, Bennett is reportedly leaning towards supporting Netanyahu’s bid for a sixth term as premier, with the aim of securing a right-wing governing coalition which does not rely on the United Arab List (Ra’am).
According to the report, Bennett is hoping to win over New Hope chairman Gideon Sa’ar, thus ensuring 65 seats for a rightist government led by Netanyahu.
Thus far, however, Sa’ar – a long-time Netanyahu rival who challenged the prime minister for leadership of the Likud before bolting the party – has refused to consider joining a Netanyahu-led government, insisting he will adhere to his campaign promise not to back the Prime Minister for an additional term.
A second option would be to help Netanyahu form a minority government of 59 MKs which relies on the support of the United Arab List’s four MKs from outside of the coalition. The Religious Zionist Party has vowed to block such a government from being formed, however. Without the Religious Zionist Party, Netanyahu’s government would have just 53 MKs – far below the 61 needed for a majority and too few even if the UAL’s four MKs supported the coalition.
If both options are found not to be viable, the report Sunday claimed, the Yamina party will push for the formation of a centrist government spanning the political spectrum, with Bennett serving as prime minister for part of the term, before being replaced by Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid.
Yamina’s top priority, the report claimed, is to avoid a fifth general election.