הגשמת חלום ראשות הממשלה בתמורה לראשו הפוליטי של נתניהו. בנט ולפיד
הגשמת חלום ראשות הממשלה בתמורה לראשו הפוליטי של נתניהו. בנט ולפיד צילום: מרים אלסטר, פלאש 90

Talks for a national unity government are continuing Thursday afternoon between delegations representing three Knesset factions interested in forming an alternative government which would replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government.

Negotiating teams from the Yesh Atid, Yamina, and New Hope factions met Thursday morning to discuss the terms for a possible alternative government, amid reports that Yamina and the New Hope will merge into a single faction to increase Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett’s electoral clout.

Currently, Yamina and the New Hope are demanding that a new united Yamina-New Hope faction receive the Interior Ministry, the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Education Ministry, and the Justice Ministry.

While Yesh Atid is opposed to the demands, it has not ended talks with Yamina and the New Hope.

An additional condition set by Yamina is that an alternative government formed with Yesh Atid leave open the possibility of the haredi factions, Shas and United Torah Judaism, joining the government at some point, possibly after it is already sworn in.

The three-sided talks also dealt with Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avidgor Liberman’s demand that a new government cut child allowance payments and funding of yeshivas – two steps which would be opposed by both haredi factions. Bennett has expressed his opposition to both moves.

The talks come five days before President Reuven Rivlin’s mandate to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a new coalition government is set to expire.

Should Netanyahu fail to form a new government by the deadline, Rivlin is expected to nominate either Yamina chief Naftali Bennett or Yesh Atid chief and Opposition Leader Yair Lapid, giving one of the two candidates the opportunity to try to form a government.

If the candidate selected by Rivlin is unable to form a government with 28 days, the mandate will be returned to the Knesset, which will have two weeks to vote in a new premier – or face snap elections.

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