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New Israeli parliament sworn in but could be dissolved soon Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

New Israeli parliament sworn in but could be dissolved soon

Netanyahu is desperately clinging on to power [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 October, 2019

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Israel has been in deadlock since elections were held three weeks ago.
Israeli members of parliament were sworn in on Thursday, despite deadlock in the country with two political heavyweights vying for the premiership.

The Knesset could be dissolved soon as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party and Benny Gantz's Blue and White Party with roughly the same number of seats and unable to form a coalition to take power. 

At the opening session on Thursday, usually a cordial affair, Gantz and Netanyahu sniped at one another, highlighting the frosty relations between the two rivals.

"The right thing for the citizens of Israel, especially at this time, is for the prime minister to be busy working for them and not preoccupied with indictments," Gantz said of Netanyahu who has been clouded with allegations of corruption.

"I call upon Netanyahu: Do not barricade yourself in your position. We will take the reins from here and lead the country for the good of the citizens."

Talks on a possible Blue and White-Likud Party government have collapsed due to Netanyahu insisting on staying on as prime minister. Gantz also appears to be sticking to an election promise not to share power with his rival.

This means that the Knesset's session will likely be short and another general election will likely take place, Israeli watchers believe - the third to take place in Israel this year.

Despite this, Gantz's deputy, Yair Lapid, said he was forgoing a previous arrangement to share the premiership should the Blue and White Party come to power, to avoid another election.

"It's far more important to me that there's unity in the country. That there won't be another election. That this country begins a healing process," he said.

Netanyahu insists that he won't step down which increases the chances of another election.

"We need to go together," he said. "This is what the voters decided upon and this is what is right at this time."

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