New coalition government in Israel pushes for swearing-in on Monday

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A view of Jerusalem's Old City | Photo: Reuters/Ronen Zvulun
A general view shows the Dome of the Rock and Jerusalem's Old City December 4, 2017. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun *** Local Caption *** 07.12.17 09.04.18

Israel’s future coalition government is pushing to be sworn in by parliament as early as Monday, according to media reports.

The factions around the leader of the Yesh Atid (Future) party, Yair Lapid, are also trying to replace parliamentary speaker Yariv Levin, local media reported on Thursday.

According to the reports, the reason behind the move are efforts by long-time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s camp to prevent the planned coalition of eight parties. A spokesperson for Lapid did not initially comment on the matter.

On Wednesday evening, the former opposition leader Lapid informed President Reuven Rivlin that he formed a coalition with eight parties from all political camps. The coalition has a slim majority of 61 out of 120 seats in the Knesset.

Initially, it was said that the necessary vote and swearing-in ceremony in parliament would probably take place on June 14.

Among others, the ultra-right Yamina (Rightwards) party of ex-defence minister Naftali Bennett is part of the coalition. For the first time, an Arab party is also to become part of the Israeli government.

According to a rotation agreement, Bennett will initially become premier and be replaced by Lapid two years later.

This would be the first time in 12 years that a government has been formed without the right-wing conservative head of government Netanyahu.

For the unusual coalition to begin its work, a simple majority of the 120 legislators must vote in favour of it.

It is expected that Netanyahu’s supporters will try with all their might to derail the shaky alliance of Lapid and Bennett before the swearing-in ceremony.

Even after the signing of the coalition agreement, there are reports of at least one possible defection in the ranks of the Yamina party.

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