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April 20, 2021 4:42 pm

Islamist Ra’am Party Reject Netanyahu’s Push for Direct PM Election: Report

avatar by i24 News

Deputy Knesset Speaker and Ra’am Party leader Mansour Abbas. April 16, 2019. Photo: Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90.

i24 News – The Islamist Ra’am party, headed by potential kingmaker Mansour Abbas, will not support Benjamin Netanyahu’s push for direct elections for the premiership, Hebrew-language broadcaster Channel 12 reported on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, Netanyahu said he would forego Ra’am’s support in trying to establish a coalition government after encountering fierce opposition from the premier’s far-right allies in the Religious Zionism party.

“We don’t need Ra’am,” Netanyahu said during a press conference. “We need direct elections so that we can form a government.”

Ra’am had reportedly soured on supporting Netanyahu’s bid for direct elections in response to his rhetoric surrounding the issue.

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Abbas has been careful not to publicly endorse any political camp following Israel’s legislative elections on March 23, the fourth in just over two years, stating repeatedly that he will only back the politician best capable of addressing problems currently plaguing the Arab-Israeli community.

The development comes just one day after the centrist Yesh Atid faction, headed by Yair Lapid, worked with the Islamist faction to torpedo the Likud party’s bid to head the Arrangements Committee, which controls the Knesset (Israel Parliament) before a new government is established.

The move essentially wrests control of the legislative agenda from Likud, headed by Netanyahu, while talks continue on forming Israel’s next coalition government following the March 23 election.

Lapid had earlier slammed Netanyahu for attempting to hold direct elections for the leadership position.

“Netanyahu, the State of Israel doesn’t need another election,” the Yesh Atid party posted in a tweet. “This isn’t a direct election, it is a bypass aimed at buying time at the public’s expense.

“It is time to form an Israeli unity government. It is possible,” he added.

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