Netanyahu’s Likud party gives unity government ‘last chance’



Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said he was willing to give his unity government with former rival Benny Gantz another chance to avoid a fourth election in less than two years.

The unity government is on the verge of collapse after being in place for only three months, with Sunday’s weekly cabinet session cancelled amid a brawl over the state budget.

Netanyahu and Gantz, the Defence Minister, overnight accepted a proposal by a third-party lawmaker to try and pass a Bill that would give them more time to approve the budget.

Israeli law stipulates that the state budget must be passed within 100 days of a government being sworn in.

The bill, if passed by the 120-seat Knesset (parliament), would provide an extension until November, alleviating the immediate threat of early elections.

Netanyahu and Gantz are still at odds. However, the right-wing Likud party leader demands a budget for what is left of 2020, while the centrist Blue and White alliance leader insists on one for 2020 and 2021.

“I think we must make every effort to avoid elections,” Netanyahu said.

Gantz was also against early elections, saying it would prove damaging for Israel, where coronavirus restrictions had dealt a devastating blow to the economy.

A senior Likud official who craved anonymity, said Netanyahu had accepted the proposed bill to give one “last chance” to the government to reach a compromise.

Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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