Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman on Sunday reiterated that he would only join a government of national unity after the September 17 elections, citing a looming economic crisis and the need to block religious and far-right legislation.
Writing on his Facebook page Sunday, Liberman stood by his surprise declaration on Israeli television a day earlier that he is no longer committed to a right-wing government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
He told Channel 13 on Saturday night that he would only support a coalition of both Likud and the Blue and White party as such a government would better reflect the will of the voters. Both Likud and the Blue and White party secured 35 seats in the April 9 elections.
Blue and White has already announced it will not join a Netanyahu-led government as long as he is facing corruption charges. The prime minister is facing bribery, breach of trust and fraud charges in three separate investigations.
The Likud party said in response that Liberman would lead to the creation of left-wing government, therefore right-wing voters must only vote Likud.
Netanyahu failed to form a coalition government after the last elections when Liberman refused to join unless the legislation on ultra-Orthodox participation in the military was passed unchanged by the religious parties.
Members of Blue and White said, however, that Liberman's announcement was too little, too late.
Just two months ago, after the election results gave the right a potential 65-seat majority including Yisrael Beytenu, Liberman insisted a national unity government would be paralyzed by conflicting views and only a national emergency can justify such a move.
Deputy Finance Minister Yitzhak Cohen of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party told Israel Radio on Sunday that his party would not sit in a government with Liberman, whom he branded a dangerous man disrespectful of the religious community.
First published: 11:44 , 06.16.19