Blue and White leader Benny Gantz has been holding one-on-one meetings with his party’s lawyers to find out who will be loyal to him if the coalition crisis comes to early elections – or if he resolves the situation by introducing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ‘s requests, which may include giving up when he turns out to be a key figure, the Kan public broadcaster reported Wednesday.
Gantz has seen his party go down in election polls while media reports have said that key party members are threatening to oust their leader if he makes a compromise with Netanyahu.
Only a handful of Blue and White ‘s 12 MKs have said they would not stick with Gantz, who is also defense minister, if he gives up the rotation to become the prime minister he plans to take next November, according to the Kan report.
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Tuesday night is the deadline for passing the state budget, after which the Knesset will automatically roll out and early elections – the fourth in two years – will be called, possibly in March .
Blue and White has called for a combined state budget for 2020 and 2021 – as the coalition deal stipulates – in a bid to persuade Netanyahu and his party Likud to honor a key circulation clause building the unity of the government.
However, even if Gantz submits to Likud ‘s demands that only the 2020 budget be agreed first, Netanyahu is believed to intend to disband the government at least before the 2021 budget has to be presented in March, to prevent Gantz from succeeding as Prime Minister.
In another move to halt Gantz’s turn as a prime mover, Netanyahu suggested two weeks ago that they change the length of time each would hold a position from his intended 18 months, increasing it to 24 months each one, Channel 12 news reported. Gantz rejected the idea but expected to be willing to add another nine months to each of the terms – but only after it began to turn around in November.
Gantz is still considering trying to reach a final compromise with Netanyahu regarding the government’s budget and future.
However, Likud is said to want Netanyahu to be given another “exit point” allowing the government to disband without giving Gantz the lead, and also that a Minister would ‘Justice Avi Nissenkorn fired from office.
Gantz said Wednesday that he would oppose the request to expel Nissenkorn, a member of his party.
Zman Yisrael, the site of the Hebrew language sister of the Times of Israel, has previously reported that five of Blue and White’s current 14 members have threatened to suspend if Gantz comes out. finally signing a contract with Netanyahu and postponing elections: Nissenkorn, Meirav Cohen, Asaf Zamir, Miki Haimovich and Ram Shefa.
“These people can no longer bear what is happening in this government and are no longer willing to embarrass themselves,” the site told a politician who knows them.
In addition, Zman reported Wednesday that No.2 Blue and White Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi is considering abandoning the party, although sources close to the minister have denied the media Hebrew that he intended to bolt.
An opinion poll on Tuesday showed that if elections were held, Blue and White would win only six of Knesset ‘s 120 seats, Channel 12 reported.