The Israeli opposition leader, former military officer Benny Gantz, was elected president of Parliament on Thursday (26) and then declared that he would act for a government of national unity in the face of the threat of the new coronavirus, an unexpected maneuver amid the troubled political panorama of the country.
“These are unprecedented times and call for unprecedented decisions,” declared Gantz after being elected with 74 votes in favor and 18 against in the Knesset (Parliament of Israel).
After more than a year of political blockade and three legislative elections, the doors now open for an agreement with his rival, conservative Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister and accused of corruption by the courts.
The previous legislature’s president, Yuli Edelstein, of the Likud party, a staunch follower of Netanyahu, had resigned on Wednesday, following a Supreme Court decision.
Gantz is the leader of the center Blue and White party, and no one expected him to run for the Knesset, mainly because he was officially charged with trying to form a government after the March 2 elections.
At first, Gantz should present the candidacy of a deputy of his acronym to occupy the important position of President of the Parliament.
Unexpectedly, he submitted his own candidacy, and was the most voted.
Israel now needs a “union and emergency” government, said Gantz, a former army chief.
Netanyahu was accused of corruption, but that did not stop him from achieving good results in the last elections – the third electoral process in less than a year.
His party, Likud, won 36 seats out of the existing 120. However, it remains unable to form a sufficient majority.
The situation does not seem easy for the bench of Azul e Branco, which was about to implode.
Union against coronavirus
“I congratulate Benny Gantz on his courageous decision to join a unity government led by Benjamin Netanyahu. This is a good decision for Israel in this period of emergency” in health, commented Defense Minister Naftali Bennett.
One of the side effects of Covid-19 in Israel is the postponement of the trial for Netanyahu’s corruption, evasion and abuse of power.
To date, 2,660 cases of the new coronavirus have been confirmed in Israel, in addition to eight deaths.
Israeli citizens live in a state of confinement and can only leave their homes to buy essential items or to work, in some cases.
During the months of blockade, Netanyahu had been requesting the formation of a union government in which he and Gantz would alternate in power.
However, Gantz did not want the government to have someone responsible for crimes in charge.