UTJ attempts to form unity government

Liberman plan: Netanyahu first, but without bloc

By
October 10, 2019 20:53
2 minute read.
United Torah Judaism chairman Yaakov Litzman gets a briefing at the UTJ election campaign headquarte

United Torah Judaism chairman Yaakov Litzman gets a briefing at the UTJ election campaign headquarters for the Jerusalem sector on Tuesday morning. (photo credit: JEREMY SHARON)

United Torah Judaism took a surprising step on Thursday by offering a bridging proposal to help facilitate the formation of a unity government.

The proposal was surprising because United Torah Judaism has ruled out entering a government that includes Blue and White’s No. 2 Yair Lapid, and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz led a campaign for a “secular unity government without extortion” in the final week of his campaign.

UTJ’s proposal would give both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Gantz the right to veto decisions made in the Knesset. The veto power would solve the issue of Blue and White being the minority in a unity government coalition that would include Netanyahu’s bloc of 55 MKs on the Right.

Blue and White criticized the proposal and said it was a non-starter.

Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman released his own coalition bridging proposal for Likud and Blue and White late Wednesday night that calls for both Netanyahu and Gantz to make compromises in order to enable a unity government.

According to the plan, Gantz will have to accept Netanyahu becoming prime minister first, following a framework suggested two weeks ago by President Reuven Rivlin. Gantz would become prime minister when Netanyahu is unable to serve, following his expected criminal indictment.

Netanyahu will have to give up his 55-MK bloc and instead form a coalition of 68 MKs with only Blue and White and Yisrael Beytenu. Liberman called for the three parties to meet to set guidelines and policies for the coalition.

Blue and White praised that aspect of the plan, and said that when Gantz receives the mandate to form a government from Rivlin, work would begin immediately on drafting the guidelines. Blue and White expressed hope that Liberman’s announcement would be a “wake-up call” for Likud.

The Likud released a statement calling Liberman’s plan irrelevant, and that he needed to rule out a left-wing coalition led by Gantz.

Asked what would happen if Netanyahu would not give up the bloc, Liberman told Channel 12 on Thursday night that once Gantz is given the mandate to form a government, Netanyahu would have no choice.

Meanwhile, UTJ appealed the results of the September 17 election at the Jerusalem District Court on Thursday. UTJ attorneys Eitan and Uri Haverman submitted evidence that votes were counted incorrectly, and that former MK Yitzhak Pindrus should be in the 22nd Knesset giving UTJ eight seats, at the expense of Likud and its 32nd candidate, MK Keti Shitrit.

Tzvi Jofree contributed to this report


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