Jerusalem (hooly News) – In a dramatic and unexpected turnaround, Benny Gantz was elected speaker of the Israeli parliament on Thursday as part of a potential power-sharing deal with rival Benjamin Netanyahu to end the country's worst political crisis. the history of Israel.
After three elections in less than a year, Mr. Gantz, a former chief of staff, said he justified the about-face by the need, he said, to act "responsibly" and " patriotic "to endow Israel with a stable," united and urgent "government to confront the pandemic of new coronavirus in the country.
Thursday afternoon in Jerusalem, the small political world awaited the election of a new president of the Parliament, in the aftermath of the resignation of Yuli Edelstein, a close friend of the outgoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the right-wing Likud party.
Benny Gantz, N.1 of the centrist "Bleu-Blanc" party who was appointed on March 16 to form the new government after the elections of March 2, was to present the candidacy of one of his deputies to direct the Parliament. But in a dramatic move, he presented his own candidacy, the only one besides for this post.
He was immediately elected by 74 votes to 18, notably obtaining the votes of the deputies of Likoud, but losing support in his own camp, members of "Bleu-Blanc" having refused to endorse this rapprochement with the party of Mr. Netanyahu .
– "Betrayed" –
For the past year, Mr. Gantz has not been eyeing the office of President of Parliament but that of Prime Minister. And he kept saying that he refused to be part of a government led by Mr. Netanyahu because he is charged with corruption.
Mr. Gantz was even charged by President Reuven Rivlin to form the government but remained unable at this stage to rally a majority of support.
His election as head of parliament is a "temporary arrangement" and marks the end of his plans to rule the country, says Udi Sommer, who teaches political science at the University of Tel Aviv. The mandate to form the government should go to Mr. Netanyahu who "will appoint Gantz to a key position".
But already, supporters of Mr. Gantz "feel betrayed," said Sommer. And on the front line, the now ex-associates of the general who had together formed over a year ago "Bleu-Blanc" with the avowed objective of driving Benjamin Netanyahu out of power.
Party leaders, Yaïr Lapid and Moshe Yaalon, who claim with their supporters 18 of the 33 seats in "Bleu-Blanc", said they did not follow General Gantz in this maneuver.
"Benny Gantz has decided to leave Bleu-Blanc (…) What is taking shape today is not a unity or emergency government but another Netanyahu government," lambasted Yaïr Lapid. "Benny Gantz surrendered without a fight and crept into a Netanyahu government."
Moshe Yaalon deplored a decision "incomprehensible and disappointing".
– Facing the virus –
Meanwhile, the teams of MM. Gantz and Netanyahu hold talks in hopes of giving birth to a government of "unity and urgency", mainly to deal with the new coronavirus.
But already allies of Mr. Netanyahu have welcomed Mr. Gantz's decision. "I congratulate Benny Gantz on his courageous decision to join a unity government led by Benjamin Netanyahu. It is the right decision to make for Israel during this time of emergency," said the defense minister. Naftali Bennett.
One of the side effects of the pandemic was the postponement sine die of the trial of Benjamin Netanyahu, accused of corruption, embezzlement and breach of trust in three cases.
So far more than 2,693 cases, including eight deaths, have been officially confirmed in Israel.
Authorities have tightened restrictions by banning citizens from leaving their homes except for essential reasons such as buying food, medicine, receiving health care, or in some cases working.
"New emergency measures have been put in place limiting our movement and our freedom, as never before, but for the well-being of all of us," said Rivlin, Benjamin Netanyahu, warning that the crisis could continue in Israel because "the number of patients doubles every three days".