SURPRISE POLITICAL TWIST IN ISRAEL WITH GANTZ AND NETANYAHU
ERUSALEM (Reuters) - A surprise maneuver on Thursday by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main rival, Benny Gantz, appeared to herald a political partnership that could keep the long-ruling Israeli leader in power. With the partial backing of his Blue and White party and the support of Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud, Gantz was set to be elected Speaker of Parliament within hours.
The surprise twist in 48 hours of political drama in Israel left Blue and White in disarray. But it could pave the way for a “rotation deal” in which Netanyahu and Gantz would take turns as prime minister. Each has insisted on going first. Likud had warned Gantz - who had ruled out such a deal, citing Netanyahu’s indictment on corruption charges he denies - that it would abandon efforts to form a unity government if Blue and White’s original candidate for the speaker’s post, an opponent of the partnership, was chosen. By putting himself up for the office, Gantz kept alive the possibility of joining forces with Netanyahu in a proposed rotating premiership.