Brussels (Brussels Morning) In a surprising move that raised the odds of ending the 12-year rule of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, far-right Yamina alliance leader Naftali Bennet says he will seek to form a governing coalition with a major centrist party.
Bennet told a televised news conference that he would form a unity government with opposition leader Yair Lapid of the Yesh Atid party, in a power-sharing agreement that would see the two take turns as a prime minister, each serving for two years.
“It’s my intention to do my utmost in order to form a national unity government along with my friend Yair Lapid, so that, God willing, together we can save the country from a tailspin and return Israel to its course”, Bennet announced, Deutsche Welle reports.
Ousting the PM
A former Netanyahu ally turned rival, Bannet explained that he decided to reach out to Lapid in order to finally put an end to the power crisis that leaves the country facing a fifth consecutive parliamentary election in little more than two years unless a stable coalition can finally be formed.
After Netanyahu tried and failed to form a majority coalition following the most recent elections, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin handed the mandate to form the government to Lapid. He was fully expected to fail, given the significant differences between the many parties in the anti-Netanyahu bloc.
The range of parties hoping to oust the current PM, who faces ongoing corruption trials, includes left-wing and right-wing parties, hardline nationalists, the centrist Yesh Atid and the Islamist United Arab List. Many were adamant that they would not work with one or other group, even to achieve their declared ultimate goal of ousting Netanyahu.