After the parliamentary elections in Israel, the incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to form a government with the list blue and white of his challenger Benny Gantz. "Benny, we need to build a unity government as big as possible," the prime minister said in a video message, suggesting a meeting later this Thursday.
"The people expect us to take on our responsibility and cooperate," Netanyahu told his challenger - and surprisingly changed his tone. As late as Wednesday evening, the previous head of state said: "There are only two options: a government under my leadership or a dangerous government that depends on the Arab parties."
"No coalition with Likud under Netanyahu"
Whether Gantz is actually ready for a joint government with or under the leadership of Netanyahu, however, is unclear. In fact, his liberal-conservative blue-white list of 33 seats, according to the preliminary election results, is one more seat than Netanyahu's conservative Likud. However, neither party, with its traditional or potential allies, achieves the majority of 61 seats in the Knesset necessary for forming a government.
On Wednesday evening, Netanyahu had met the leaders of the right and religious parties and declared himself the spokesman for the 55-seat bloc. At the same time Gantz closed a coalition with the Likud, as long as this is led by Netanyahu. He justified this with the corruption charges, which the head of government sees himself exposed.
However, the political newcomers also said he hopes for a "good, desirable unity government". One of his spokesmen announced after the video message of the premier of an early statement of the ex-military chief.