Are the September 17 elections about to be cancelled?
Analysis: After voting in favor of an unprecedented second elections in the same year, rumors begin swirling around another unprecedented decision that might be around the corner as Netanyahu - whose party is sliding down in the polls - issues a surprise statement
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) said he’s examining whether the law to disperse the Knesset that was passed by Israeli parliament last month could be overturned but added it would be extremely difficult. The sentiment was reiterated by the Knesset legal advisers who said the passing of the law is something that “can’t be undone.”
If the move were to happen, Edelstein would have to convene the Knesset plenum, which has been on hiatus since the law to disperse it was passed in May, and propose a bill to annul the elections which have already been announced. At least 80 MKs would have to vote in favor of the bill, meaning the support of some of the opposition members would be necessary.
"To continue with the election process would be a breach of Israeli citizens’ trust. They would lose billions (of taxpayers' money) because of the refusal of some parties’ leaders,” said Edelstein. “It is our duty to allow the 21st Knesset to continue functioning."
The opposition MKs also have sternly criticized the prime minister’s statements, with Blue and White party claiming Netanyahu is lying and there are no plans to cancel the elections.
“This is another spin meant to make the public forget that Netanyahu failed to form a government, focusing instead on his personal interests and dragging a country into an unnecessary elections,” said Blue and White in a statement. “Netanyahu understands he is going to lose the elections and is looking for a magic solution. We’re going to hold the elections and Benny Gantz will become the next prime minister of Israel.”
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz himself issued a statement, saying the rumors about negotiations between his party and the Likud “are false, and the whole purpose (of Netanyahu’s statement) is to cynically shift the blame onto us ... Netanyahu could have given the mandate to form a government back to the president, but he continued to sacrifice the good of the country in order to stop the legal proceedings against him," he said.
In the meantime, Channel 12 reported Tuesday evening that Netanyahu has offered Gantz a rotating premiership as part of a unity government agreement.
Both Blue and White and Likud issued statements denying the report. Gantz called the reports “a complete lie” while the Likud party said the prime minister “did not offer Benny Gantz rotation and has not made contact with him.”
Blue and White co-founder, Yair Lapid, went as far as to suggest his party would be willing to unite with the ruling Likud as long as “one person steps aside and deals with his indictments."
Sources in the Likud party said Netanyahu is trying to damage Blue and White’s public image by making it seem as though he’s given them an opportunity to avoid another election and they rejected it.
The sources claimed Netanyahu is aware the majority of Israeli public wants a unity government and therefore wants to shift the responsibility for having another national vote onto Blue and White.
The political establishment, however, believes Netanyahu is genuinely apprehensive about holding another elections due to Likud’s sliding position in the latests polls. Some sources in the opposition claim the prime minister’s latest remarks is a result of an enormous pressure Netanyahu finds himself under.