Two weeks after the fourth general election in the Israeli regime in two years, Likud party opponents are mobilizing their resources to form an inclusive coalition to end Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year rule as prime minister.
Ahlulbayt News Agency: Two weeks after the fourth general election in the Israeli regime in two years, Likud party opponents are mobilizing their resources to form an inclusive coalition to end Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year rule as prime minister. When the parliamentary election results were released, Likud and its traditional right-wing allies failed to secure the majority needed to form a government despite gaining 52 seats combined.
What capabilities and obstacles do the opposition forces have for challenging Netanyahu as he is named again the PM by President Reuven Rivlin?
Lapid-Bennet agreement for rotation government
According to the latest reports, the middle, right and left parties, under a framework called the "Coalition for Change" and with the participation of the Yash Atid, Blue and White, Yamnia, Labor, New Hope, and Yisrael Beiteinu, which have a total of 58 seats and can grow to 61 seats in case of alliance with the Arab United List, are planning to form a rotation government.
The rotation government term was introduced to the Israeli politics last year when Netanyahu and Benny Gantz agreed to share the PM post, with each taking it for a year or two in a rotating style.
Pieces of evidence suggest that days after the announcement of the results, parties opposed to Netanyahu agreed to form a cabinet. Israeli Channel 13 reported that Yair Lapid, the leader of the Yash Atid and the leader of the opposition parties in the Knesset, agreed with Yamina leader Naftali Bennett on a rotation deal.
According to the agreement, Bennett will be the PM first, and after half of the cabinet term, Lapid will take over. Yash Atid agreed to Bennett first becoming the PM under the condition that the latter would never join a Netanyahu-led cabinet and also endorse a motion to cut the ministries to 18.
The main driving forces to drive Netanyahu out
In the current situation, there seems to be a stronger-than-ever will to oust Netanyahu from power among the Israeli parties and political community. Here are the key driving forces behind this will:
1. Most of Israeli political parties are in favor of ousting Netanyahu from power, and somehow believe in creating a multi-party coalition to prevent him from heading a new cabinet. Actually, his opponents yearn for terminating his lengthy rule as PM. He has held the position since March 2009. Netanyahu's record of economic corruption and political positions in domestic and foreign policy have been annoying for these parties.
The talks over new cabinet are heating up while Netanyahu appeared in court on April 5, the third such appearance since he was accused of corruption and abuse of power. He was called for a hearing of the witnesses testifying against him. Overall, this pervasive resolution can be analyzed as the most important factor in the new coalition to oust Netanyahu.
2. The deepening divisions within the Likud party and clashes with the allied parties is another important impetus draining Likud power. Indeed, there have been reports in recent years of fissures among Likud leaders and members over the continuation of Netanyahu rule. Now that the opposition parties show solid union to form a cabinet, the inter-Likud gaps broaden.
3. Netanyahu's treachery in meeting his promises is another driver behind the opposition push to knock him out of ring. Perhaps the day when Netanyahu and Gantz set up their rotation government in late March last year, leaving aside their differences, it was clear to everyone that Netanyahu, with extreme thirst for power, will never meet the agreed-upon conditions. Even if in the past the parties doubted this Netanyahu feature, they can now be sure of it, something warning the political parties of entering any alliance with Netanyahu-headed Likud.
4. Widespread economic crisis and clouds of tough economic conditions impacting life of a vast part of the Israeli settlers, especially the non-Europeans, are another important reason behind the firm will to end Netanyahu premiership. Over the past year, the Israeli regime faced the biggest economic crisis of its history as the coronavirus struck. According to results of a research published by International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, as the Covid-19 keeps hitting, around 10 percent of the Israeli citizens are in serious difficulty meeting their food needs. The Israeli economy experienced a 7.1 percent shrinkage, with the pandemic damages reaching $13 billion.
Obstacles setting back anti-Netanyahu alliance
Despite adequate potentials, the formation of a cabinet by Likud opponents is not as easy as it seems, and there are serious obstacles in the way. First of all, it is necessary to take into consideration the fact that the center-left and leftist parties not only do not have much experience in governing but also face significant differences in terms of policy-making at both internal and external levels. Although the opposition to Netanyahu is their connecting ring, this cannot guarantee their agreement on the cabinet and policy.
From another dimension, the Netanyahu and Likud power and sway over other parties should not be ignored, especially that the anti-Netanyahu camp is largely fragile and can fall out of majority with withdrawal of just a few seats. This means any shift of other parties towards Likud can mar Lapid-Bennet plans for new cabinet.