Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Netanyahu Begins Coalition Hunt Amid Deadlock

Netanyahu Begins Coalition Hunt Amid Deadlock

Thursday, 26 September, 2019 - 07:30
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem January 13, 2019. Ariel Schalit/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu started on Thursday the daunting task of trying to cobble together a coalition government.

The country faces political deadlock that emerged from this month's repeat elections, which had no clear winner.

A unity government with Netanyahu's main challenger, former army chief Benny Gantz, appears to be the preferred option. But on Thursday, the two main parties remained far apart.

Netanyahu has up to six weeks in his attempt. But as he doesn't have the 61-seat majority needed to establish a government, his odds appear slim.

If Netanyahu fails, President Reuven Rivlin could ask Gantz to try. If he too doesn't succeed, the president could choose another legislator or he could set in motion unprecedented third elections.

Netanyahu had suffered one of the biggest defeats of his political career following April polls, when he failed to form a coalition despite his Likud party and its right-wing and religious allies coming out on top.

Meanwhile, the attorney general has announced his intention to indict Netanyahu on fraud, bribery and breach of trust charges pending a hearing expected for early October.

Many expect him to seek immunity.

Netanyahu Thursday called for his pre-trial hearing to be broadcast live.

"After a three-year flood of tendentious, partial media leaks, the time has come for the public to hear everything, including my side," Netanyahu said in a social media video.

"I am therefore asking the attorney-general to open up the hearing for live broadcast ... You know that transparency delivers the truth."

Editor Picks