Israel’s parliament approved on Sunday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new unity government, ending more than a year of political deadlock, but he still faces a trial starting next week for alleged corruption, Reuters report.
After three inconclusive elections, the conservative Netanyahu will remain prime minister for 18 months before handing over to his new partner.
Gantz, a former armed forces chief, will be Netanyahu’s defence minister and “alternate prime minister”, a new position that Netanyahu will hold when Gantz takes the helm.
By assuming that “alternate” premiership once he hands over to Gantz, Netanyahu hopes to avoid having to resign under legal rules that allow a prime minister to remain in office even if charged with a crime.
Israel’s longest-serving leader, Netanyahu, 70, first came to power in 1996 and has served three consecutive terms since 2009. He goes on trial on May 24 on charges of bribery, breach of trust and fraud, which he denies.
“The people wanted unity, and that is what it got,” Netanyahu told parliament, citing a desire to steer clear of a fourth election and the need for a national battle against the coronavirus crisis.
Lawmakers ratified the new administration by a vote of 73 to 46.
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