Moshe Kahlon at a weekly cabinet meeting, November 18, 2018.
(photo credit: EMIL SALMAN/POOL)
The coalition is safe for the near future, after Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said Wednesday he won’t take action to topple it.
“I won’t lift a hand to bring down the government,” Kahlon told KAN Radio. “I think the coalition will fall on its own.”
Kahlon was the last coalition partner to back down from a call for an early election.
The narrower coalition, without Yisrael Beytenu, got off to a rough start this week, losing a vote Monday night and then pulling most other bills from the agenda. There is a long line of votes planned for Wednesday that will test the government’s one-seat majority in the Knesset. The coalition and opposition grounded their MKs, canceling all official trips abroad, so they can show up in full force.
“This situation is impossible,” Kahlon added. “Sixty-one in the first year [of a coalition] and 61 in the fourth year are two completely different things.”
Kahlon said his Kulanu party is the “stabilizing factor” of the coalition, and he said he does not fear an election, as he is certain his party will get more than the 10 seats it currently has.
The coalition went down to 61 seats after Avigdor Liberman resigned from the Defense Ministry
last week and took his party with him. In the following days, Kahlon and other coalition party leaders expressed doubts the government could survive and called for an election as soon as possible, but they have all backed down since then.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked expressed skepticism about the coalition’s chances of survival at a conference at Bar-Ilan University on Tuesday.
“It will be difficult with 61 MKs,” Shaked said. “Yesterday my bill fell… which was agreed upon by everyone. We think it’s hard [to keep a narrow coalition intact] at the end of a term, but the prime minister decided he wants to try, so we wish him luck.” Shaked said she and Education Minister Naftali Bennett backed down
from their ultimatum that the latter be appointed defense minister because “we thought it’s not right for the country to go to an election now. Sometimes political battles fail. You don’t always get what you want.”
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