Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Netanyahu's Coalition To Be Announced By Tomorrow (Update: Or Not)

UPI is reporting Netanyahu: principles for new gov. agreed:
The fundamental principles for a new government have been agreed upon, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in Jerusalem Sunday.

Netanyahu told the last Cabinet meeting of the outgoing government that negotiations to form a new coalition will focus on ministerial portfolios, Israel Radio reported.

Israel Radio, The Times of Israel and The Jerusalem Post reported Netanyahu is expected to announce the forming of the new government Tuesday. Ynetnews.com said the prime minister is expected to make the announcement Wednesday.

A formal announcement of the new coalition was expected to be made either today or tomorrow, with the expected coalition consisting of:
  • Netanyahu’s Likud-Beiteinu (31 seats
  • Yesh Atid (19)
  • Jewish Home (12)
  • Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua Party (6)
  • Kadima (2)
In the meantime, the only real speculation left being who gets which portfolio -- but the big news at this point is not who will be included, but who will be included.

The Israel Project's new blog, The Tower, notes Netanyahu Closing In On Secular Coalition For Next Israel Government:
Israel’s pundit class is increasingly converging on the opinion that, for the first time in several political cycles, Israel is heading for a coalition government without any religious parties. Channel 2 political correspondent Amit Segal went so far as to tell Army Radio [Hebrew] that a configuration of only secular parties was more or less inevitable.

Israeli coalitions have generally included representatives from religious parties such as Shas and United Torah Judaism (UTJ). In the last election, however, Shas secured 11 seats and UTJ won seven, while the Yesh Atid and Jewish Home parties — which subsequently formed an alliance to limit the influence of religious parties in any new government — claimed 19 and 12 seats respectively.
At least Netanyahu made the deadline that Obama had set that a coalition had to be formed before he would arrive.

All of which still leaves questions.

Such as:
  • How long can a coalition that was assembled with such difficulty actually last?
  • Will this coalition enable Netanyahu to withstand pressure from Obama to make further unilateral concessions to jumpstart a peace process which only Israel has shown any willingness to attend?
  • Finally, what will happen to the indications before the election that Netanyahu was willing to resume construction at Mevaseret Adumim (E-1)?
We'll have to see how Obama's visit goes first, and whether predictions of renewed pressure on Israel prove accurate.

(Of course, we are still assuming that the announcements of a coalition about to be formed is accurate)

UPDATE: YnetNews now reports a holdup in the talks as Yesh Atid insists on getting education portfolio:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted a new government will be announced on Wednesday, but the optimistic forecast may be delayed by the latest clamoring over the coveted Education Ministry and other portfolios.

Yesh Atid sources said Tuesday that Chairman Yair Lapid is not likely to give up the Education portfolio, strongly featured in the party's election campaign.

Conversely, Likud-Beiteinu are adamant that the portfolio should remain with the incumbent Gideon Sa'ar.

Monday night a meeting between Netanyahu and his intended coalition partners, Lapid and Naftali Bennett, was rife with disagreement, and concluded without scheduling new talks.

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