Israel’s ruling coalition collapses, paving the way for the fourth elections in two years.
News Lead: Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced tonight that his Blue and White party will vote in favor of dissolving Parliament on Wednesday because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – Gantz’s political rival-turned-coalition partner – has been refusing to pass the budget and backtracking on the power-sharing deal.
Netanyahu has not promised any tricks and responsible management of the COVID-19 crisis. … he didn’t lie to me – he lied to you. He led the Israeli people. “
– Benny Gantz
why does it matter: The vote on Wednesday is only an initial step, but it will set an almost irreversible path toward early elections next March.
Play condition: The government needs to pass the 2020 budget by December 23 to survive, but Gantz is adamant that Netanyahu also agrees to approve the 2021 budget by then.
- This would make it legally impossible for Netanyahu to reverse the coalition agreement under which Gantz will rotate as prime minister on November 17, 2021.
- Between the lines: When the deal was announced last April, many analysts doubted that Netanyahu would willingly relinquish the premiership.
what are they saying: Gantz has said he joined the power-sharing government due to the COVID-19 crisis and has no illusions about Netanyahu, who he has described as a “broken promise.”
- He accused Netanyahu of only worrying about his political survival and saving himself from the corruption trial, which is due to resume in two months.
- Gantz added that in the event that elections are held, he will try to form a broad government that does not include Netanyahu.
- Netanyahu posted a video Several minutes before Gantz’s press conference. He stressed his desire for unity and urged Gantz not to vote in favor of dissolving the Knesset.
What’s Next: Gantz left a small chance by saying that early elections could still be prevented if Netanyahu raised the 2021 budget to a vote in the cabinet in the next three weeks and ensured that it would pass the Knesset shortly thereafter.
- Netanyahu is unlikely to take these steps, as he does not wish to pursue the rotation deal.
- Opinion polls also show that Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc is far ahead in a possible election match.
Bottom line: Preventing early elections requires a miracle.