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June 23, 2019 2:23 pm

Likud, Blue and White Deny Report on Plans to Cancel Elections, Form Unity Government

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Israeli lawmakers stand during the inauguration of the 21st Knesset | Photo: Haim Zach/GPO.

Israel’s two largest parties, Likud and Blue and White, denied reports on Sunday that discussions are underway to cancel the planned September elections and form a unity government.

According to Hebrew language media outlets, the plan involved mustering the votes of 80 MKs to cancel the law that dispersed the Knesset after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition earlier this month. Such a move would reportedly also automatically cancel the planned elections.

An official in Netanyahu’s Likud Party, however, was quick to reject the claim, telling The Times of Israel that he was unaware of any such efforts.

Blue and White also firmly refuted the report, saying in a statement, “There is only one option to cancel the elections — that Netanyahu drops out [of political life] to deal with his legal issues and Blue and White leads a broad government.”

In earlier statements, Blue and White said that it would not sit in government with Netanyahu so long as he is threatened with indictment on corruption charges, though it would consider joining with Likud if Netanyahu is replaced as the party’s leader.

Another possible complication in the reported unity plan is that between Likud, Blue and White, and the Kulanu party, which recently merged with Likud, there are only 74 MKs, meaning another six would have to be found from among the smaller parties to override the law that dissolved the Knesset.

According to the media claims, Netanyahu and Blue and White party co-chairman Benny Gantz are not personally involved in any negotiations over the unity government.

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