Israel National Unity Govt Could Be Formed Under Knesset Guarantees
Following intensive sessions over the weekend, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz agreed to announce the formation of a unity government to be presented to the Knesset within the next few hours or days.
In a joint statement on Sunday, Netanyahu and Gantz announced “reaching fundamental understandings through efforts to form a unity government,” stressing that some minor issues will be agreed upon during the next session.
Based on the agreement, the unity government’s term would be three years, extendable for one and a half year. In the first half, Netanyahu will assume the premiership, with Gantz taking the position of acting Prime Minister. The two officials will exchange posts in September 2021.
The acting premier will have the capacity to veto the decisions of the Prime Minister, whether they pertained to political matters or senior appointments.
The agreement also stipulates that the two sides share the ministries equally, so the right-wing camp, which has 58 parliamentary seats, gets 15 portfolios, including finance and health, while Gantz gets 15 other ministries, including security, foreign affairs, the judiciary, and communications.
The new agreement shows that Gantz has taken the Justice portfolio to prevent Netanyahu from hampering his trial process, and the ministry of Communications to stop the latter from interfering with the media.
The two leaders also decided that the agreement would be formulated as a law enacted in the Knesset, so that Netanyahu would abide by the rotation after a year and a half of the government formation.
While the opposition leader considered the deal as a big gain, his former colleagues in the Kahol Lavan party saw it as another deception by Netanyahu. Yair Lapid said that he did not believe that Netanyahu would concede to the rotation and that he would seek a fourth election after several months.