Tuesday 23 July 2019

Netanyahu trying to call off redo of election

Benjamin Netanyahu won an election and then called for another. Photo: REUTERS/Corinna Kern
Benjamin Netanyahu won an election and then called for another. Photo: REUTERS/Corinna Kern

Ruth Eglash in Jerusalem

Less than three months after narrowly winning his fifth term as Israel's prime minister and a month after calling a second election, Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly trying to undo the redo.

Emerging victorious from the April 9 election, Mr Netanyahu had 28 days, plus an extension, to form Israel's next government. But after failing to garner a majority of support in the Knesset, Israel's parliament, his Likud party took the unusual step of dissolving the legislature and setting another election for September 17.

But the long-serving leader, who faces indictment pending a hearing on bribery and fraud charges, said he is now considering an initiative put forward by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, the No 2 in Likud, to call off the second election.

Legally and politically, it is still unclear whether such a move is even possible, but yesterday it was justified by Mr Edelstein.

He said a growing number of parliamentarians from various political factions have approached him, saying the decision to hold a second election on the heels of the first was a "foolish move" and that many were looking for a way out of the political turmoil.

"The majority of the public do not want this election, and we need to find a way within the current Knesset to form the widest coalition," he added.

He said he might have found a solution and was working, with Mr Netanyahu's backing, to cancel the September poll.

The attempted U-turn, however, was treated with scepticism by Mr Netanyahu's rivals, who termed it political spin and another way for the formidable leader to postpone his day of judgment in court. (© Washington Post)

Irish Independent

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