Negotiations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and the Blue and White faction, headed by MK Benny Gantz, have begun in the wake of President Reuven Rivlin’s mandate given to Netanyahu to try and form a new governing majority in parliament following the September 17 election.
Talks between both parties have begun to discuss the possibility of forming a unity government. The first meeting on Friday meeting concluded without any breakthrough. The session was said to have lasted some four hours.
Aside from ideological differences between the Likud and Blue and White, the two sides confirmed that they were working on technical stumbling blocks.
Blue and White has stated that it would refuse to sit in a government led by Netanyahu if the prime minister is facing a criminal indictment. A hearing is scheduled for October to determine whether Netanyahu will, in fact, face indictments in three cases of alleged corruption.
The talks continued earlier this week but no significant advances were made. In a statement regarding the meeting, Blue and White said it rejected the Likud’s demands to form a unity government under Netanyahu’s leadership with the prime minister’s right-wing and religious allies.
Another meeting between the two parties was expected to take place on Wednesday, but Blue and White announced that it was calling it off.
The Likud said it was stunned by Gantz’s decision to cancel the talks and called on him to show responsibility in order to avoid sending the country to a third round of elections after no government was established after a vote for parliament in April as well.