Netanyahu, Gantz Finally Agree on Unity Government in Israel

Published April 21st, 2020 - 06:00 GMT
Benny Gantz and Benjamin Netanyahu. (AFP)
Benny Gantz and Benjamin Netanyahu. (AFP)

After three elections and months of stalled negotiations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz agreed to a coalition government on Monday.

Netanyahu's Likud Party and Gantz's Blue and White Party signed the agreement Monday night in Jerusalem.

As part of the deal, Netanyahu will remain prime minister for 18 months and he'll be succeeded by Gantz in October 2021. In the interim, Gantz will serve as vice prime minister.

The agreement concludes 17 months of failed negotiations that resulted in three different elections, two last year and the most recent last month.

Earlier Monday, Gantz had permitted new legislation to bar Netanyahu from being a part of the process in what was seen as a final effort to coerce him into getting a deal done.

The legislation would've clarified Israeli law to prevent any person under indictment from being part of the coalition-building process. Netanyahu is under indictment on charges of corruption and will soon stand trial.

Netanyahu and Gantz met again Monday to discuss forming the unity government after days of signals that the two were nearing an agreement.

The Likud Party had demanded a change in rules to give it greater control of judicial appointments -- a move some critics believed was aimed at guarding Netanyahu against the corruption charges. The Blue and White Party rejected those demands.

Lawmaker Yair Lapid, who split with the Blue and White Party when Gantz accepted the Knesset speaker position, criticized his former ally earlier Monday for his attempts to work with Netanyahu.

"Either you fight corruption or you're a part of it," Lapid tweeted. "In Blue and White, they've chosen a side."

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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