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Elections in Israel: Netanyahu and Gantz fight for leadership



Benjamin Netanyahu (L) shook hands with Benny Gantz on September 19, 2019 on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem's Jerusalem hand on Thursday

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival Benny Gantz are struggling over the terms of a unity government after the nation's second election ends in a dead end in one year.

According to local media, both men's parties have not received enough votes Tuesday to build a coalition with the majority.

Mr Netanyahu called on Mr Gantz to open negotiations on joint administration.

Mr. Gantz rejected the idea and called it spin. He said he wanted a unity government ̵

1; but only one of him.

His party has ruled out joining a coalition under the leadership of Mr. Netanyahu, who may be charged with corruption.

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At a ceremony attended by both party leaders in Jerusalem, President Reuven Rivlin said that he had heard the voices loud and clear, who demand a broad and stable government of national unity "and praised the PM for" taking part in this call ".

Mr. Rivlin will hold consultations with party leaders before naming a candidate he believes has the best chance of forming a government.

What was the result of the elections?

Official results were published slowly by the Central Electoral Committee, with only 68.6% of the votes cast on Thursday at 16:23 (13:23 GMT). [19659007] Mr. Gantz's blue-white centrist party is 0.77% ahead of Mr. Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party. The Joint List, an alliance of Arab parties, ranks third, the ultra-orthodox Shas party in fourth, and the secular Yisrael Beiteinu nationalist fifth.

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Benjamin Netanyahu's options "shrink" after the elections, says the biographer Anshel pepper 33 seats, two more than Likud.

A left-center block led by Mr. Gantz was to control 57 seats, and a block of right-wing and religious parties allied with Mr. Netanyahu should have 55 seats. [19659022] Without the support of Yisrael Beiteinu, whose chairman Avigdor Lieberman has called for a "liberal" unity government, including Likud and Blue and White, neither of them could form a majority coalition.

Mr. Lieberman prevented Mr. Netanyahu from forming a majority coalition after the April last elections because he refused to resign from military service in a long-standing dispute with religious parties over the liberation of ultra-orthodox men.

How did the party leaders react?

In a video released on Mr. Netanyahu on Thursday, "to his regret," the election results showed he could not form a right-wing government.

"There is no choice but to form the broadest possible government." Benny, today we must build a unity government that is made up of all the elements that the state of Israel cares about, "he added People expect both of us to be responsible and work together, so I call you, Benny, to meet today, at any hour and time, to get it going. "

19659021] AFP

Caption

Benny Gantz said any new government would "convey the will of the people"

He also evoked the unity government between Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Shamir in the 1980s – which some local media considered indicative of a potential rotating premiership.

But Mr. Netanyahu's call was rejected by Mr. Gantz within a few hours.

The former military chief read a statement saying "Blue and white, under my leadership, won the election" and "We are not dictated." "To form a unity government, we must not come with political blocs and spins, but with honest patriotism, responsibility and sincerity," he added, forming a broad and liberal unity government under my leadership. A government that will convey the will of the people. "

Mr. Netanyahu said he was" surprised and disappointed "by the reaction.

The BBC's Tom Bateman in Jerusalem says it's setting the stage for several long weeks of political barter.

The demands that Mr. Netanyahu says his usual far-right and religious coalition partners must be in government, while Mr. Gantz's party makes any deal with Likud dependent on the replacement of Mr. Netanyahu as chairman. [19659003] Mr. Netanyahu is being charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in connection with three corruption cases, with a final hearing scheduled for next month, denying any wrongdoing and claiming he is the victim of a political "witch hunt."


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