Lengthy coalition meeting with Likud and Blue and White ends in anger

The meeting ended with the two parties issuing statements summarizing the meeting in which they both complained that the other party did not want to talk about what really mattered.

By
September 27, 2019 14:15
2 minute read.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz mee

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz meet after to discuss the formation of the new government, Setepmber 23 2019 . (photo credit: CHAIM TZACH/GPO)

The first official coalition talks between Likud and Blue and White started and ended on the wrong foot on Friday, but in a sign of hope, teams representing the two parties did meet for more than four hours at Jerusalem's Orient Hotel.

The meeting ended with the two parties issuing statements summarizing the meeting in which they both complained that the other party did not want to talk about what really mattered and focused instead on issues that are irrelevant.

The Likud complained that Blue and White did not respond to the Likud's request that the basis for the talks be a compromise idea presented by President Reuven Rivlin as a basis for negotiations. Rivlin's idea is to pass a law enabling a prime minister to suspend himself indefinitely to deal with an indictment and a bolstered vice prime minister to run the country until the prime minister is cleared of charges.

A Blue and White spokeswoman said the Likud liked Rivlin's plan because it would let Netanyahu start off as prime minister, but refused to discuss key policy issues. She also complained the the Likud continued to insist on negotiating as a bloc.

"Blue and White will continue to insist that the essence and the content be the thrust of the negotiations to form a government," the spokeswoman said. "But the Likud just cared about Netanyahu remaining prime minister as the basis for the discussion."

The two teams will meet again on Sunday morning, before the Rosh Hashanah holiday. Blue and White declined Likud's request to meet on Saturday night.

The talks also started badly Friday morning when Blue and White negotiators refused to enter the room until the press left.

The Likud invited the media for a photo opportunity at Jerusalem's Orient Hotel ahead of the talks but Blue and White complained that it had not been coordinated with them.

"We have nothing to be ashamed of in meetings with Blue and White," said Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin (Likud).

Asked whether they were ashamed of meeting with Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman who called for talks without preconditions on Thursday, Elkin said that there was no reason to meet with him because he actually has many conditions

"That would be a side show that would get in the way of progress," Elkin said.

The Likud chief negotiator, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, said "We want a broad unity government immediately."

Elkin added that "This can be done quickly with goodwill. Every party who wants Jewish democratic state invited. Whoever says no brings third elections."

Blue and White chief coalition negotiator Yoram Turbowicz told the Jerusalem Post at the meeting that Likud wants to build a ceiling before the house's foundations, while his party wants to build foundations first.


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