Israel PM calls for right-wing blockade to anti-Netanyahu coalition

Jerusalem, Jun 3 (EFE).- Benjamin Netanyahu called Thursday for conservative members of the Israeli parliament to oppose a coalition agreement aiming to remove him as the country’s longest-serving prime minister.

“All members of the right in the Knesset must oppose this dangerous leftist government,” said Netanyahu on Twitter, his first public reaction to the eight-party coalition agreement reached Wednesday evening.

If the agreement is fulfilled, a vote in the Knesset could oust Netanyahu from office after an aggregate 15 years as the head of the Israeli government.

Following marathon last-minute negotiations, centrist and opposition leader Yair Lapid, tasked with forming a government by the president, announced Wednesday that he had reached an agreement with an array of parties from across the political spectrum, from the far right to the left, including one Arab party, all of which share their opposition to Netanyahu.

However, the agreement is only political and not legally binding, meaning the formation of the coalition government depends on a final vote for which the opposition parties could fall short of the necessary 61 vote majority, if some deputies decide to vote against the will of their party.

Netanyahu is pushing for such an outcome by pressuring conservative members of parliament from parties like Yamina or New Hope, which have some political affinity with his right-wing Likud party.

The coalition pact envisages a rotation of prime ministers, starting with far-right Yamina leader Naftali Bennett during the first two years, and followed by Lapid, leader of centrist party Yesh Atid, the second strongest in Israel with 17 seats in the Knesset.

However, Yamina cannot guarantee the support of its seven deputies: one of them withdrew Thursday their signature from a petition by the coalition parties to vote on a new speaker of parliament next Monday.

This position, currently held by Netanyahu ally Yariv Levin, will be key to the formation of a new government, considering it has the final decision over the parliament’s agenda and the day to vote for the proposed government.

Levin could obstruct the forming of a new government and postpone it until the last possible voting day, giving Netanyahu room to convince potential deserters.

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