Liberman: No option left but another election

The Israel Beiteinu head blames the big parties for not creating a unity government.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Israel Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Liberman said that Israeli citizens will have to head to the polls for a third time in a year as he refuses to enable the formation of a government built on a narrow majority. He blamed the large parties for not coming to an agreement on unity.

According to a Thursday article in Yediot Ahronot, Liberman said that his hints in recent days that he may join a right-wing government were simply a pressure tactic aimed mainly at the Blue and White party to make compromises in negotiations with the Likud.

But any purely left-wing or right-wing government would not be a good idea under the current circumstances, he explained.

“The combination of a narrow government with dramatic decisions in the fields of security and the economy – could create a large rift and polarization in the public,” Liberman said. “A narrow government is a complete failure of a government. It’s a government of perpetual friction.”

He said he made the decision to refuse the Likud’s generous offers “for the good of the country.”

“I could have been acting head of state [when the prime minister leaves the country – ed.] and defense minister, to get another two portfolios, any committee I wanted, any budget that would support the aims of our party,” he said. “There is no other party that could make a decision that completely goes against its own interests and for the good of the State of Israel.”

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Saying that he had done everything remotely possible to form a unity government, he laid the responsibility for the failure squarely on the shoulders of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White head Benny Gantz.

“Unfortunately, both of them made a strategic decision not to go with unity, so the two parties are responsible for another election campaign. On election night, we promised that we’d turn over every stone, that we’d try to exhaust every option and suggest every imaginable initiative. We did this,” he said. “We come with clean hands” to the electorate.

Liberman suggested that the reason for the impasse was that each party is “bewitched” by internal polling that shows that they can gain the extra seats they need to form a narrow government if the public goes to the polls once again.