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Gantz Insists on Biennial Budget for Israel

Gantz Insists on Biennial Budget for Israel

Tuesday, 4 August, 2020 - 09:15
Israeli alternative Prime Minister Benny Gantz Gantz. (AFP)

Israeli alternative Prime Minister Benny Gantz Gantz assured his Blue and White party that he will pressure for a two-year budget that covers the rest of 2020 and the entirety of 2021, reported Israeli Kan 11.

Kan’s correspondent, Michael Shemesh, said that Gantz discussed the matter during a special meeting of his party, and commented on recent call of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to approve a draft budget for the next year only.

Gantz asserted that he would not budge on the "option of approving a two-year budget."

Netanyahu insists on immediately passing a one-year budget which would allow schools to be opened in September and provide grants to the self-employed. He claims a two-years budget will lead to cuts and harm the economy.

Whereas Gantz stressed that a biennial budget must be passed as outlined in the coalition agreement with Likud.

Gantz's position angered the Likud party, as Minister Ofir Akunis warned that if Blue and White does not back a single-year budget, the Likud will seek to replace the unity coalition with an alternative government.

Akunis told Army Radio that if the budget is not passed this week, then his Likud party will strive to avoid new elections by forming a new government from the current Knesset before the budget deadline arrives.

“Everyone will know who led Israel to a fourth election. The blame will be all on Gantz,” asserted Akunis, adding that it is irresponsible given the risk of a third wave of the coronavirus in Israel within the next three to four months.

The Minister’s statements indicate a continuing heated row over the draft budget between Netanyahu and Gantz who is accused of obstructing the approval of the public budget for political motives.

Meanwhile, the coalition whip, Miki Zohar, said that the government between Netanyahu’s party and Gantz’s Blue and White was heading for “a divorce.”

Recent tensions between Likud and Blue and White could lead to the dissolving of the government and call for new elections.

According to Israeli law, the deadline for ratification of the new budget is August 25, and the failure to pass a budget by then will trigger automatic elections in November, in what would be the fourth round of voting in less than two years.

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