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Israel's PM calls to avoid new elections

Top News2020-08-10


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Monday to do "every effort" to avoid a new round of elections amidst a looming coalition crisis.

"We should make every effort to avoid elections and stabilize the government," Netanyahu told a public conference.

Netanyahu said he agreed to support a bill that would extend an August deadline for passing the state budget.

Under the current law, the government, led by Netanyahu's rightwing Likud party and Benny Gantz's centrist Blue and White party, should approve the budget by Aug. 25 or the parliament would be automatically dissolved.

Gantz said on Sunday he also agrees to postpone the deadline.

Over the past weeks, Netanyahu and Gantz have been in dispute over the timeframe of the budget, with Netanyahu demanding the budget should cover only 2020 and Gantz insisting it should also cover 2021.

If the government would not approve the budget before the deadline, Israel might find itself heading a fourth round of elections in 16 months.

No party achieved enough votes to establish a government after the last elections in March. In the wake of the political deadlock, an unprecedented power-sharing government was formed, with Netanyahu as prime minister and Gantz as "alternate prime minister" and defense minister. The two are expected to rotate after 18 months, under their power-sharing deal.


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