Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu pushes to form eleventh hour coalition government

Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu pushes to form eleventh hour coalition government

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu faces a 2100 GMT deadline to form a governing coalition today, following last month’s election. Mr

netanyahu coalition trouble

Photo: Gali Tibbon/AP

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu faces a 2100 GMT deadline to form a governing coalition today, following last month’s election.

Mr Netanyahu’s Likud Party won 35 seats in elections on April 9, but he needs 26 more to form a government. Coalition governments are the norm in Israel, however, the veteran leader has surprisingly struggled to garner enough support to ensure a fifth term in office. A dispute with nationalist parties over military conscription laws providing exemptions for ultra-Orthodox Jews has been at the heart of this struggle.

Pending graft charges have also complicated Mr Netanyahu’s efforts. He is seeking to swiftly pass two bills that would grant MPs—including himself—immunity from prosecution, as well as providing the legislature with the power to block any Supreme Court ruling that rescinds that immunity. The right-wing parties with which Mr Netanyahu seeks to form a government do not oppose these bills, but they do recognise the leverage they have over the PM.

Mr Netanyahu will be barred under Israeli law from forming a government after today. With no other party likely to garner the necessary support to form a government, the country could be headed for another election later this year—something that will be perceived as unnecessary by the Israeli public, likely harming the right-wing bloc’s popularity.

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