Gideon Saar spurns coalition talks with Netanyahu

Former Likudnik doubles down on election promise, saying has no intention of joining a government led by his erstwhile boss even at the cost of sitting in the opposition

Moran Azulay|
New Hope leader Gideon Saar rejected proposals from associates of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hold coalition talks, Ynet has learned on Wednesday.
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  • The former Likudnik reiterated he had no intention of joining a government led by his erstwhile boss, which he also emphasized in his speech Tuesday night following the publication of the election exit polls, even at the cost of sitting in the opposition.
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    גדעון סער בנימין נתניהו
    גדעון סער בנימין נתניהו
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and New Hope leader Gideon Saar
    (Photo: AP, AFP)
    "If [Netanayhu] forms a government, [New Hope] will sit in the opposition," Saar told his supporters. "We hoped for better results, but in a democracy, we will respect the voter's verdict. We did our best under difficult conditions."
    Saar added that he will push for a government without Netanyahu. "We will do all we can on our part to form a government of change. Egos are not in the equation," he said.
    Netanyahu, for his part, said Tuesday that he is not ruling out any party as he vied to form a coalition government.
    2 View gallery
    בנימין נתניהו במטה הליכוד
    בנימין נתניהו במטה הליכוד
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to Likud supporters on Election Night
    (Photo: Reuters)
    "A homogeneous government, which our economy obliges us to establish," he said. "I reach out to all members of Knesset who believe in these principles. I do not rule out anyone, and I expect those who believe in these principles to behave in a similar way towards us."
    With about 90% of the votes tallied, Likud is set to claim 30 Knesset seats, while New Hope will gain 6.
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