MKs Gafni (left) and Smotrich (right)
MKs Gafni (left) and Smotrich (right) צילום: דוברות

Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu urged two key allies Sunday to accept a two-stage negotiation process for building a new government, in a bid to speed up Netanyahu’s return to office.

According to a report by Reshet Bet Monday morning, the former Prime Minister met with MKs Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) and Bezalel Smotrich (Religious Zionist Party) on Sunday, to push a proposal under which the Likud would draw up a coalition agreement with its three allied factions in two stages.

Netanyahu’s plan would allow him to cut the time required for coalition talks significantly, enabling him to deliver an agreement backed by 61 MKs to President Isaac Herzog within a matter of days following the certification of the final vote count later this week.

In the arrangement put forth by Netanyahu, in the first stage, the Likud would allocate ministerial positions and key Knesset leadership positions to its coalition partners prior to the formation of the government, but would hold off with further negotiations until after the coalition is sworn in.

Then, once the government has taken power, the Likud will conduct the second stage of talks with its coalition partners, establishing the agenda for the new government.

But both Gafni and Smotrich reportedly refused Netanyahu’s request, demanding that at least some core issues be put into coalition agreements before the government is formed.

The two MKs met together following their talks with Netanyahu, to coordinate their efforts to ensure an understanding is reached before the government is formed.

Netanyahu is slated to meet Monday with MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, chairman of the Otzma Yehudit party, which ran as part of the Religious Zionist Party.