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Oli reappointed as Nepal PM as Opposition fails to prove majority to form govt From “World News Headlines, Latest International News, World Breaking News – Times of India”



KP Sharma Oli could be reappointed Nepal PM, after Nepali Congress backed out of forming a new government (AFP)KATHMANDU: K P Sharma Oli was reappointed as Nepal Prime Minister on Thursday after the Opposition parties, riddled by factionalism, failed to secure majority seats in Parliament to form a new government. Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari had asked the Opposition parties to come up with the support of majority lawmakers to form a new government by 9 pm Thursday after Oli, 69, lost a crucial trust vote on Monday. The Nepali Congress (NC) under the leadership of party president Sher Bahadur Deuba on Tuesday had announced its intention to stake a claim for the prime minister’s post. Though Deuba had received support from Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, a meeting of current and former NC office bearers at the party president’s residence on Thursday concluded that the sharp division within the Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP) whether to support the NC-led government had made the formation of an alternative government impossible. A Standing Committee meeting of the Maoist Centre held at the party’s headquarters on Thursday also concluded that the formation of an alternative government was not possible. The Maoist Centre had earlier decided to support the formation of a NC-led coalition government. Following the Opposition’s failure to prove its majority in Parliament, Oli is expected to stake his claim to form the government. Subsequently, President Bhandari reappointed Oli, whose party has 121 seats in Parliament, as the prime minister. He will take the oath of office tomorrow. However, as per rules, Oli is required to win the vote of confidence within 30 days from the date of the appointment. The NC had earlier planned to form a new government with the support of Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), JSP and the Madhav Kumar Nepal-led faction of the ruling NCP-UML (Unified Marxist-Leninist). The plan failed to materialise as there was an agreement between chairman Oli and rival faction leader Nepal within the UML and Upendra Yadav and Baburam Bhattarai-led faction of the JSP failed to secure a majority in the party. Oli and Nepal had held a four-hour-long meeting to resolve their differences amid the threat of lawmakers close to the Nepal-led faction in the party to resign en masse if their demands were not met. The two leaders have agreed to form a 10-member task force to settle the differences seen in the party. Nepal plunged into a political crisis on December 20 last year after President Bhandari dissolved the House and announced fresh elections on April 30 and May 10 at the recommendation of Prime Minister Oli, amidst a tussle for power within the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP). Oli’s move to dissolve the House sparked protests from a large section of the NCP led by his rival ‘Prachanda’. In February, the apex court reinstated the dissolved House, in a setback to Oli who was preparing for snap polls. Known for his pro-China stance, Oli had earlier served as the country’s prime minister from October 11, 2015 to August 3, 2016 during which Kathmandu’s ties with New Delhi had strained. Nepal’s COVID-19 cases reached 431,191 as 8,842 fresh cases were reported in the past 24 hours on Thursday. As many as 214 more deaths were also logged, taking the national toll to 4,466. FacebookTwitterLinkedinEMail







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Formation of alternative govt not possible, says Nepali Congress From “World News Headlines, Latest International News, World Breaking News – Times of India”



KP Sharma Oli could be reappointed Nepal PM, after Nepali Congress backed out of forming a new government (AFP)KATHMANDU: Nepal’s main Opposition party Nepali Congress (NC), which earlier decided to form a new government under its leadership, on Thursday said the formation of an alternative government is not possible. The development is likely to pave the way for the reappointment of K P Sharma Oli as prime minister. Oli had lost a crucial trust vote on Monday. The Nepali Congress (NC) under the leadership of party president Sher Bahadur Deuba on Tuesday had decided to stake a claim for the prime minister’s post. A meeting of current and former office bearers of Nepali Congress (NC) held at Deuba’s residence on Thursday concluded that the sharp division within the Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP) whether to support the NC-led government had made the formation of an alternative government impossible, MyRepublica news portal reported. The decision of the Mahanta Thakur and Rajendra Mahato-led faction of the JSP has made it difficult for the NC to garner requisite majority seats in parliament. A Standing Committee meeting of the Maoist Centre held at the party’s headquarters in Parisdanda on Thursday also concluded that the formation of an alternative government was not possible, the report said. The Maoist Centre had earlier decided to support the formation of a NC-led coalition government. The NC had earlier planned to form a new government with the support of Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), JSP and the Madhav Kumar Nepal-led faction of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal UML (Unified Marxist–Leninist). The plan failed to materialise as there was an agreement between chairman Oli and rival faction leader Nepal within the UML and Upendra Yadav and Baburam Bhattarai-led faction of the JSP failed to secure a majority in the party. Oli and Nepal had held a four-hour-long meeting to resolve their differences amid the threat of lawmakers close to the Nepal-led faction in the party to resign en masse if their demands were not met. The two leaders have agreed to form a 10-member task force to settle the differences seen in the party. President Bidhya Devi Bhandari had asked the Opposition parties to come up with the support of majority lawmakers to form a new government by 9 pm Thursday. Since the opposition parties are now unable to garner the requisite majority seats in parliament, the President is likely to reappoint Oli as the new prime minister in his capacity as the leader of the single largest party in the parliament, the report said. Oli’s Nepal Communist Party (NCP) has 121 seats in Parliament. However, if Oli is appointed under the Constitution, he also needs to win the vote of confidence within 30 days from the date of the appointment. Nepal plunged into a political crisis on December 20 last year after President Bhandari dissolved the House and announced fresh elections on April 30 and May 10 at the recommendation of Prime Minister Oli, amidst a tussle for power within the ruling NCP. Oli’s move to dissolve the House sparked protests from a large section of the NCP led by his rival Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’. In February, the apex court reinstated the dissolved House, in a setback to Oli who was preparing for snap polls. Known for his pro-China stance, Oli had earlier served as the country’s prime minister from October 11, 2015 to August 3, 2016 during which Kathmandu’s ties with New Delhi had strained. FacebookTwitterLinkedinEMail







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France: Macron gov’t, soldiers clash over ‘civil war’ warning | Emmanuel Macron News From “Al Jazeera – Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera”



The government of French President Emmanuel Macron has reacted with fury after a group of serving French soldiers published an open letter warning that “civil war” was brewing over his “concessions” to “Islamism”, weeks after a similar message from elements in the military rocked the elite.
The letter, posted on the website of the right-wing Valeurs Actuelles magazine late Sunday, echoes the one published by the same publication last month but appears to have been written by an unknown number of younger troops still in active service.
Interior minister Gerald Darmanin, a close ally of Macron, on Monday accused the anonymous signatories of the second letter of lacking “courage” while defence minister Florence Parly dismissed it as part of a “crude political scheme”.
Prime Minister Jean Castex meanwhile told Le Parisien newspaper that the letter was a “political manoeuvre” by the “extreme right”.
But it was welcomed by far-right leader Marine Le Pen, seen as Macron’s main rival for next year’s presidential election.
She had also been blamed by some in the government over the previous letter, which was signed by a handful of officers and about 20 semi-retired generals.
‘Generation of fire’
“We are not talking about extending your mandates or conquering others. We are talking about the survival of our country, the survival of your country,” said the latest letter, which was addressed to Macron and his cabinet.
The authors described themselves as soldiers from the younger generation of the military, a so-called “generation of fire” that had seen active service.
“They have offered up their lives to destroy the Islamism that you have made concessions to on our soil,” they wrote.
They claimed also to have served in the Sentinelle security operation within France, launched after a wave of attacks in 2015.
They charged that, for some religious communities, “France means nothing but an object of sarcasm, contempt or even hatred”.
“If a civil war breaks out, the military will maintain order on its own soil … civil war is brewing in France and you know it perfectly well,” the letter said.
In contrast to the previous missive, the latest letter can be signed by the public, with Valeurs Actuelles saying more than 160,000 had done so by Monday afternoon.
‘Is this courage?’
A high-ranking officer in military headquarters told AFP the armed forces would not let the letter go without a response.
“A firm reminder will be made by the command on the respect of duty,” said the officer, who asked not to be named, adding that remaining apolitical was essential to maintain the military’s credibility.
“One can have personal convictions but the armed forces are apolitical and have absolute loyalty to the elected president. If you feel bad you can leave the army with a clean conscience,” the officer said.
“I believe that when you are in the military you don’t do this kind of thing in hiding,” Darmanin told BFM television. “These people are anonymous. Is this courage? To be anonymous?”
“It is part of a crude political scheme,” Parly told the same channel. “It uses all the rhetoric, the vocabulary, the tone, the references which are those of the extreme right.”
Analysts say Macron has tacked to the right in recent months to prevent Le Pen and her National Rally party from exploiting a series of attacks in late 2020 blamed on “Islamist extremists” who recently immigrated to France.
Civil war “is brewing,” responded Le Pen during a visit to western France. “In any case, it is a risk. Of course, there is always a risk of civil war,” she said, adding that she welcomed the second letter as she had the first.
“It is clearly not a call to insurrection,” she said. “Otherwise I would not be supporting it.”
Castex had labelled the rare intervention in politics by military figures in last month’s letter “an initiative against all of our republican principles, of honour and the duty of the army”.
Armed forces Chief of Staff General Francois Lecointre said those who signed it would face punishments ranging from enforced full retirement to disciplinary action.







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Nepal government news: Nepal President Bhandari initiates govt formation, gives 3 days time to parties to stake claim | World News From “World News Headlines, Latest International News, World Breaking News – Times of India”



File photo: KP Sharma OliKATHMANDU: Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari has called on parties to form a new majority government by Thursday after the one headed by the embattled Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli lost a trust vote. The Office of the President, in a statement on Monday, said President Bhandari has decided to invite parties to form a majority government pursuant to Article 76 (2) of the Constitution of Nepal. She has allotted the parties three days’ time, asking them to stake their claim to the government by 9:00 pm on Thursday, The Himalayan Times reported. As per the constitutional provision, a candidate requires to submit signatures of lawmakers belonging to two or more political parties in parliament to the Office of President within the stipulated time. The President’s announcement came shortly after Oli lost a trust vote in the House of Representatives. Oli, who decided to seek the trust of the 275-member House on his government, managed to garner only 93 votes, which fell short of 43 votes to reach the 136-mark and win the vote of confidence during a special session of the lower house. A total of 124 members voted against the confidence motion while 15 members stayed neutral, Speaker Agni Sapkota announced on Monday. The session was attended by 232 lawmakers. Oli, 69, lost the vote of confidence motion, days after the Nepal Communist Party Maoist Centre led by Pushpakamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ withdrew its support, reducing the government to a minority. After Oli lost the trust vote, the Nepali Congress, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) and a faction of the Janata Samajbadi Party led by Upendra Yadav urged President Bhandari to invoke Article 76 (2) of the Constitution to pave the way for the formation of a new government. Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba, Maoist Center chair Prachanda, and Yadav, one of the chairs of the Janata Samajbai Party, issued a joint statement. “As per Article 100 (1) of the Constitution, the prime minister moved a vote of confidence motion, but lost it. The prime minister hence has been relieved of his position as per Article 100 (3). So, we call upon the President to initiate the process to form a new government under Article 76 (2),” the joint statement read. With Oli failing the trust vote, the President needs to invoke Article 76 (2) to form a new government. It says in cases where no party has a clear majority in the House, the President shall appoint as the prime minister a member of the House who can command the majority with the support of two or more parties in the House of Representatives. That could provide the Nepali Congress an opportunity to form a government with the backing of the Maoist Centre. But the two parties fall short of around 26 seats to form a new government, The Kathmandu Post reported. If the House fails to form a government as per Article 76 (2) or a prime minister appointed under this provision fails to win the vote of confidence within 30 days from the appointment, the President shall invoke Article 76 (3), it said. In that case, Oli is likely to stake a claim to the government once again, the report said. The main Opposition party, Nepali Congress (NC), has already made a decision to form a government under its leadership. The CPN (Maoist Center) and the Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP) have so far announced support to the NC-led government. Oli currently is the leader of a party that has the highest number of members in the House. If Oli is appointed under the Constitution, he also needs to win the vote of confidence within 30 days from the date of the appointment. Nepal plunged into a political crisis on December 20 last year after President Bhandari dissolved the House and announced fresh elections on April 30 and May 10 at the recommendation of Prime Minister Oli, amidst a tussle for power within the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP). Oli’s move to dissolve the House sparked protests from a large section of the NCP led by his rival ‘Prachanda’. In February, the apex court reinstated the dissolved House, in a setback to Oli who was preparing for snap polls. Known for his pro-China stance, Oli had earlier served as the country’s prime minister from October 11, 2015 to August 3, 2016 during which Kathmandu’s ties with New Delhi had strained. Oli said in Parliament on Monday that it was “unfortunate” that a government that “tirelessly worked for the country’s development and nation-building” was being “targeted for narrow and partisan interests”. Prominent leaders, including Deuba and Prachanda, blamed Oli for his failure to tackle the surge in COVID-19 cases over the last few weeks. They said “corruption and scandals” had blocked the supply of timely delivery of vaccines from India. FacebookTwitterLinkedinEMail







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Myanmar military designates shadow gov’t as ‘terrorist’ group | Human Rights News From “Al Jazeera – Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera”



A group including deposed lawmakers formed the ‘National Unity Government’ to oppose the military government.Myanmar’s military rulers have branded a group of deposed lawmakers running a shadow government as “terrorists”, and blamed it for bombings, arson and killings, state-controlled media said on Saturday.
Since the military seized power in a February 1 coup, detaining and deposing civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a nationwide uprising has refused to back down on its demands for a return to democracy.
Bombings are reported daily and local militias have been formed to confront the army while anti-military protests have been maintained across the Southeast Asian country and strikes by opponents of the coup have paralysed the economy.
The National Unity Government (NUG), which operates under cover and itself describes the army as a “terrorist force”, announced this week that it would set up a People’s Defence Force to protect its supporters from violence instigated by the military government.
A nationwide uprising in Myanmar has refused to back down on its demands for a return to democracy after the military seized power on February 1 [AP]Myanmar state television MRTV announced that the NUG, a committee of deposed lawmakers known as the CRPH, and the new force would all now be covered by the anti-terrorism law.
“Their acts caused so much terrorism in many places,” the announcement said.
“There were bombs, fires, murder and threats to destroy the administrative mechanism of the government,” the announcement said.
Meanwhile, anti-coup protesters again marched against the military government across the country on Saturday.
At least 774 civilians have been killed by security forces and 3,778 are in prison, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners activist group.
The military government disputes those figures and says at least two dozen members of the security forces have been killed in protests.
Fighting has also flared on Myanmar’s periphery with ethnic armies that have been fighting for decades, some of which have rallied behind the protesters. State television said the army had advanced against the Kachin Independence Army in northern Myanmar, but there was no independent confirmation.
In western Myanmar, the newly formed Chinland Defence Force said it had overrun an army camp. The army made no comment on the report.
The military has defended its power grab, alleging fraud in the November election, which was won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s party in a landslide.
Journalists potential targets
The new designation means anyone speaking to the groups – including journalists – can be subjected to charges under counterterrorism laws.
The Arakan Army – a rebel group that had clashed with the military in conflict-wracked Rakhine state – held the designation last year, and a journalist who had interviewed a high-ranking representative was arrested.
He faced “terrorism” charges, carrying penalties ranging from three years to life in prison.
While he was released not long after, the use of the counterterrorism law against journalists sparked fears of a tightening noose around the country’s embattled press.
Dozens of journalists have been arrested in the wake of the coup, while media outlets have shut down and various broadcasting licences have been revoked for some TV stations – placing the country under an information blackout.







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Chad police use tear gas to disperse anti-military gov’t protests | Chad News From “Al Jazeera – Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera”



Military authorities had banned the protest called by a coalition of opposition political parties and civil society organisations.Police in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, have fired tear gas to disperse crowds protesting against a military takeover that followed the death of longtime President Idriss Deby on the battlefield last month.
The transitional military government – headed by Deby’s son, four-star General Mahamat Idriss Deby – on Friday had banned the protest called by a coalition of opposition political parties and civil society organisations that want the transition to be led by a civilian.
Defying the ban, groups of protesters took to the streets on Saturday morning, chanting slogans and waving flags. Some held printed messages denouncing what they called a “monarchy”.
Police used tear gas to break up a gathering in a southern district of N’Djamena, AFP news agency reported, adding that security forces had fanned out across the city.

“The police prevented us from demonstrating,” Real Mianrounga, a civil society group leader, was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency, saying he had been injured while trying to flee a police charge on a group that attempted to gather in central N’Djamena.
“Those who resisted were violently reprimanded by the police. There were some injuries,” Mianrounga said.
Some protesters set several French flags on fire in protest over what they said was France’s backing of the military transition in its former colony.
At least five people were killed during similar protests on April 27.
The military has promised to organise elections within 18 months and Mahamat Deby has named a transitional government that is overwhelmingly dominated by ruling party figures and stalwarts of his father’s apparatus.
But some opposition parties have rejected the military-led transitional government, calling it a coup and a continuation of Deby’s 30-year rule.
French President Emmanuel Macron had signalled strong backing of the military during Deby’s funeral which he attended, sitting next to Deby’s son Mahamat. But the French government has since shifted, calling for a civilian national unity government.







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German Govt places ban on an Islamic corporation that is based in Nigeria, over terror links : worldnews From “World News”



This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 78%. (I’m a bot)German authorities raided the premises of Ansaar International across the country on Wednesday after Interior Minister Horst Seehofer announced a ban on the Islamist organization and its sub-groups.Ansaar International said Joel Abdurahman Kayser, its founder and head, had written to Seehofer in April stating: “We at Ansaar love and live the idea of understanding between all nations.”While Ansaar International has its headquarters in Dusseldorf, other sub-groups are scattered across Germany.Extended Summary | FAQ | Feedback | Top keywords: German#1 Ansaar#2 Germany#3 Seehofer#4 organization#5







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India’s top court gives govt till Thursday morning to provide plan on supplying Delhi hospitals with oxygen amid shortages — RT World News From “RT World News”



India’s highest court has set a strict deadline for officials to devise a plan for solving the medical oxygen crisis in the capital. A lower court had previously threatened to charge the government with contempt.

The Supreme Court ordered the government to provide a detailed plan by 10:30am local time on Thursday on how it intends to supply Delhi hospitals with much-needed oxygen. The federal government previously told the highest court in the land that it and regional governments were “doing their best” to combat oxygen shortages across the country.The deadline was set a day after the Delhi High Court sent a contempt notice to the government, demanding that officials appear before the judges and explain why they failed to comply with an earlier order to supply 700 metric tons of medical oxygen per day to Delhi hospitals. The judges accused the government of trying to “bury your head in [the] sand like [an] ostrich,” and asked if authorities were “living in an ivory tower.” 

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Grim milestone: India’s Covid-19 cases surpass 20 million as country suffers from medical oxygen shortages

The Supreme Court blocked the lower court’s ruling. “Putting officers in jail will not bring oxygen to the city – let’s ensure lives are saved,” the court said, adding that justices should focus on “problem-solving” at a time of a humanitarian crisis. Officials have been trying to tackle the shortages of oxygen – which is used to save Covid-19 patients with breathing difficulties – by ordering oxygen tanks and other equipment from abroad and by rerouting supplies to Delhi and other hard-hit areas.India became the second country after the US on Tuesday to pass the mark of 20 million coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic. The news prompted renewed calls from the opposition to impose a nationwide lockdown. The government’s principal scientific adviser, K. Vijay Raghavan, told reporters on Wednesday that a third wave of infections is “inevitable,” given the current dynamic, but it’s not clear when exactly it will hit India. Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!







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‘Less democratic’ Asian nations satisfied with govt Covid response as public opinion in Europe suffers ‘severe downturn’ – study From “RT World News”



People’s satisfaction with the Covid-19 response in “more democratic” Europe has “dropped sharply” in 2021 compared to last year, while people in “less democratic” Asia have “remained consistently positive,” finds a global survey.

The survey, titled the Democracy Perception Index (DPI), was conducted by the Alliance of Democracies Foundation and brand tracking firm Latana. It found “the vast majority” of people in “less democratic” Asian countries still had faith in their government’s Covid-19 response measures a year after the pandemic began, remaining “just as satisfied” in 2021 as they were in 2020 (75% vs. 77%).Among the most satisfied were China, Vietnam, and Saudi Arabia. The report explains that the satisfaction was dependent on the country’s death rate per capita – of the 53 countries polled, it was lowest in China and Vietnam.The survey also found that public approval had actually grown in some countries, including Russia and Chile. Both nations have rolled out mass vaccination campaigns, Russia using its own Sputnik V, and Chile China’s CoronaVac, manufactured by Sinovac.However, it points out that overall approval levels worldwide had dropped from about 70% to 58%, and the downturn had been “even more severe in more democratic countries.” In Europe, for example, the level of approval had plummeted to 45%. According to the report, the least satisfied countries were Italy, France, and Poland. Dissatisfaction is also on the rise in Latin America.The survey also examined people’s opinions of Covid-19 restrictions and discovered that many felt their government was increasingly limiting their basic freedoms. According to the findings, this year, 53% of people around the world reported feeling state intervention had gone too far, while, last year, this figure stood at 45%. The report points out that concern at the restrictions had increased most in Europe, especially in Hungary, France, and Ireland, although it was still higher overall in less democratic countries (60%).

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French parliament’s law committee approves Covid-19 passports for large gatherings, as MPs raise concerns over ‘discrimination’

“We now need to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic by delivering more democracy and freedom to people,” said Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former NATO secretary general who is now chair of the Alliance of Democracies Foundation, which carried out the poll.The DPI is the world’s largest annual study on democracy, being representative of more than 75% of the world’s population. This year’s online survey polled more than 53,000 individuals in 53 countries between February 24 and April 14.Like this story? Share it with a friend!







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Netanyahu loses mandate to form Israel govt, opening door for rivals From “World News Headlines, Latest International News, World Breaking News – Times of India”



In power from 1996 to 1999 and again since 2009, Netanyahu has acquired a reputation as a master political survivor.JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s mandate to form a government following an inconclusive election expired on Wednesday, giving his rivals a chance to take power and end the divisive premier’s record tenure. Netanyahu, on trial over corruption charges he denies, had a 28-day window to secure a coalition following the March 23 vote, Israel’s fourth in less than two years. The 71-year-old’s right-wing Likud party won the most seats in the vote, but he and his allies came up short of an absolute majority in the 120-seat Knesset, Israel’s parliament. The results delivered by a deeply fractured electorate left Netanyahu with a daunting path towards 61 seats, as voters broadly chose not to reward him for a successful coronavirus vaccination campaign. President Reuven Rivlin’s office said in a statement that Netanyahu had “informed (the presidency) that he was unable to form a government and so returned the mandate to the president.” In power from 1996 to 1999 and again since 2009, Netanyahu has acquired a reputation as a master political survivor and Israeli media had over the past four weeks feverishly speculated about deals he was hatching to stay in power. But the obstacles that faced Netanyahu the morning after the vote remained largely unchanged. A Netanyahu-led coalition likely would have required tacit cooperation between the conservative Islamic Raam party and the far-right Religious Zionism alliance, whose leaders have hurled incendiary anti-Arab rhetoric during their political careers. Raam’s leader Mansour Abbas had said he was open to any arrangement that improved living standards for Israel’s 20 percent Arab minority. But Religious Zionism’s leader Bezalel Smotrich has repeatedly called Raam “terror supporters” who he refused to work with. Netanyahu also could have made up the numbers by making peace with his estranged former protégé, the religious nationalist Naftali Bennett, and convincing Likud defectors in the New Hope party to return home. New Hope’s leader Gideon Saar maintained that his party was committed to ousting Netanyahu. Bennett, a multi-millionaire former tech entrepreneur, said Monday he could have endorsed Netanyahu to preserve right-wing governance but saw no path for the prime minister to clinch a viable coalition. Likud on Wednesday blasted Bennett for what it called “his refusal to form a right-wing government.” Bennett has long been viewed as a hardliner and enthusiastic supporter of Jewish settlement expansion on occupied Palestinian territory in the West Bank. But he sought to highlight his business and management credentials as pandemic closures ravaged Israel’s economy. Bennett has said his top priority is avoiding a fifth election and that he would work towards a unity government if Netanyahu could not form a coalition. Bennett may end up leading such a unity government, despite his Yamina party only controlling seven seats. Rivlin said he would contact political leaders on Wednesday morning “regarding the continuation of the process of forming a government.” He can assign a new 28-day mandate to another lawmaker, with opposition leader Yair Lapid the most likely choice after his centrist Yesh Atid party finished second in the vote. Lapid has confirmed that he offered Bennett the chance to serve first as premier in a rotational coalition, in the interest of ending Netanyahu’s tenure. “There is an historic opportunity. To break down the barriers at the heart of Israeli society. To unite religious and secular, left and right and center,” Lapid said Monday. “It’s time to choose. Between a unity government or ongoing division.” The former television presenter said last week’s stampede that killed 45 mainly ultra-Orthodox Jews at a religious festival was a consequence of Israel lacking a “functioning government.” He conceded that an ideologically divided coalition forged mainly through shared opposition against Netanyahu “won’t be perfect”, but would prioritise national interests. Rather than tap another lawmaker to form a government, the president could ask the Knesset to select a name, a move unlikely to break the deadlock that could accelerate Israel’s return to the polls. In a widely-criticised manouevre, Netanyahu and his allies have flirted with legislation to create a direct vote for prime minister, hoping he would emerge victorious in a divided field. Likud members made moves to advance such legislation as the prime minister’s mandate was expiring on Tuesday, but with little sign of success. FacebookTwitterLinkedinEMail







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