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Netanyahu Mulls Cancelling September Election
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu greets supporters in Tel Aviv on election night in April 2019. (Amir Levy/Getty Images)

Netanyahu Mulls Cancelling September Election

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is considering using a legal loophole to cancel September’s elections and form a coalition with a broad spectrum of parties, according to Netanyahu’s spokesman. Israeli media reported that discussions on the matter began after Parliament Speaker Yuli Edelstein, a Netanyahu loyalist and member of the ruling Likud party, devised a mechanism by which to legally cancel May’s dissolution of the legislature, or Knesset. Members voted to disband after Netanyahu was unable to cobble together a coalition following his victory six weeks earlier in a national vote. The potential legal process, if initiated, would reportedly involve canceling the Knesset’s summer recess; pushing through a bill to reverse parliament’s dispersal (which would require the minimum support of two-thirds of 120 lawmakers); and then Netanyahu forming a “national unity” government that includes more members with different – and perhaps even conflicting – ideologies. Edelstein justified the potential move by saying: “The public does not want to go to elections and the Knesset’s job is to represent the public. He adding that “going to an election, when it could be canceled, is going against the public.” The revelation drew immediate condemnations from centrist and leftist politicians, including Benny Gantz, whose Blue and White list garnered an equal number of seats as the Likud in the April election. (Netanyahu was nevertheless given the first opportunity to form a coalition, as more party leaders recommended him to the president, who then officially designates the candidate most likely to be successful). “Netanyahu is afraid of the public’s verdict,” Gantz said in reference to the scheduled prospective vote. A spokesman for Blue and White added that “Netanyahu understands that he will lose the election, so he is looking for magic solutions.” Should the vote proceed as planned (although anything, and everything, is seemingly possible in Israeli politics), it would mark the first time in the Jewish state’s history that citizens have been sent to the ballot box twice in one year.

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