New Israeli coalition govt pushes for early swearing-in

Tel Aviv, June 3 (IANS) Israel’s new coalition government is pushing to be sworn in by Parliament as early as June 7, according to media reports on Thursday.
The reports said the factions around the leader of the Yesh Atid (Future) party, Yair Lapid, are also trying to replace parliamentary speaker Yariv Levin, dpa news agency.
According to the reports, the reason behind the move are efforts by long-time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s camp to prevent the planned coalition of eight parties.
A spokesperson for Lapid did not initially comment on the matter.
On Wednesday evening, the former opposition leader Lapid informed President Reuven Rivlin that he formed a coalition with eight parties from all political camps.
The coalition has a slim majority of 61 out of 120 seats in the Knesset.
Initially, it was said that the necessary vote and swearing-in ceremony in Parliament would probably take place on June 14.
Among others, the ultra-right Yamina (Rightwards) party of former Defence Minister Naftali Bennett is part of the coalition.
The new coalition also includes Ra’am, an Islamist party headed by Mansour Abbas, marking the first time for an Arab party to be part of a coalition in Israel.
According to a rotation agreement, Bennett will initially become premier and be replaced by Lapid two years later.
This would be the first time in 12 years that a government has been formed without the right-wing conservative head of government Netanyahu.
For the unusual coalition to begin its work, a simple majority of the 120 legislators must vote in favour of it.
It is expected that Netanyahu’s supporters will try to derail the shaky alliance of Lapid and Bennett before the swearing-in ceremony.
Even after the signing of the coalition agreement, there are reports of at least one possible defection in the ranks of the Yamina party.
Early Thursday morning, Lapid wrote on Twitter that the new government “will work in the service of all Israeli citizens, those who voted for it and those who did not”.
“It will respect its opponents and do everything in its power to unite and connect all parts of Israeli society.”
The move comes amid a series of inconclusive elections and a lingering political deadlock.
The deal paves the way to the end of the rule of Netanyahu, who has been facing a criminal trial over corruption charges in three separate cases.

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