Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

A thin line between fact-checking and propaganda in Gaza social media coverage

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive

Read more

FOCUS

Ireland's missing babies casting light on a dark history...

Read more

WEB NEWS

World Cup 2014: Germany-Brazil inspires the Web

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Boutros-Ghali: 'I wanted to reform the UN'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

57 000 little problems

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

The Sarkozy 'threat'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Budget challenge for India's new government

Read more

  • US prepared to negotiate Gaza ceasefire, Obama says

    Read more

  • French companies will have to accept anonymous CVs

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces close in on Donetsk

    Read more

  • Germany asks US intelligence station chief to leave country

    Read more

  • Hamas rockets reaching deeper into Israel

    Read more

  • UN chief Ban Ki-moon appoints new Syria mediator

    Read more

  • Video: Muslims in China confront obstacles to Ramadan fasting

    Read more

  • Tour de France passes WWI Chemin des Dames battlefield

    Read more

  • Senegalese man awarded French visa in gay marriage debate

    Read more

  • Israel steps up airstrikes as diplomacy gets under way

    Read more

  • Argentina beat Netherlands on penalties to reach World Cup final

    Read more

  • Foiled French jihadist ‘targeted Louvre and Eiffel Tower’

    Read more

  • Obama in Texas to urge congressional action on child migrant crisis

    Read more

  • Iraq’s heritage 'in danger' from ISIS militants

    Read more

  • 100 years on, the Tour de France returns to the Western Front

    Read more

Middle east

Netanyahu asked to form Israeli government

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-02-03

Israeli President Shimon Peres on Saturday asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form the country's next government, following last month’s elections. Netanyahu pledged that he would be committed to advancing peace talks with the Palestinians.

Israel’s president asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday to form the next government, and Netanyahu pledged that his new administration will be committed to advancing peace talks with the Palestinians.

Israeli President Shimon Peres formally requested Netanyahu to build a governing coalition, after conducting consultations with all 12 parties that won seats in last week’s election. A majority of newly elected lawmakers recommended Netanyahu as prime minister-designate.

Netanyahu now has six weeks to form a coalition government, with an extension of 14 days if needed. If he succeeds, he will begin his third term as Israeli premier.

At a televised news conference, Netanyahu said the government’s top priority should be to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon. He also said the government should "deal with another deadly weapon being stockpiled near us and threatening our cities and civilians," a thinly veiled reference to weapons caches in Syria. An attack on a weapons convoy in Syria this week has been widely attributed to Israel, though Israel has not commented on the matter.

Netanyahu also said his next government would be "committed to peace."

"I call on Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) to come back to the negotiating table," Netanyahu said. "It’s a shame, with every day that passes without us talking and trying to find a solution for peace for our two nations."

Netanyahu also vowed to push for more universal military service that would put an end to longstanding draft exemptions for ultra-Orthodox Jewish seminary students, lower housing prices and revamp the Israeli system of governance. Those were three high-priority issues for the new centrist party Yesh Atid, which emerged as the second largest party in the January elections after Netanyahu’s Likud party.

Party leader Yair Lapid, a former television anchorman, campaigned on middle-class issues like the high cost of living, and also criticized Netanyahu’s outgoing government for including too many ministers.

Netanyahu said he wants a broad governing coalition that will bring stability to the government and allow it to confront these challenges.

"At a time when there are so many forces trying to splinter Israel, we have to unite," Netanyahu said.

It will be difficult for Netanyahu to form a wide coalition. Lapid’s new centrist party is expected to be Netanyahu’s main coalition partner, but to ensure a parliamentary majority, the two will need at least one more mid-sized partner.

The most likely candidates are two parties that stand staunchly against Lapid’s demands for compulsory military service for ultra-Orthodox Jews and advancing peace talks with the Palestinians.

The ultra-Orthodox Shas party is likely to resist any change to Israel’s draft law, and the pro-settlements Jewish Home party will likely resist attempts to restart talks with the current Palestinian leadership.

Lapid has said he will not sit in a government that does not restart moribund peace talks with the Palestinians, but the issue could get sidelined since the largest parties share more common ground on domestic matters like the army draft.

Israel’s new members of parliament are scheduled to be sworn in next week.

(AP)

Date created : 2013-02-03

  • ISRAEL

    Tough-talking secularist Lapid shakes up Israeli poll

    Read more

  • ISRAEL

    Netanyahu vows broad coalition after narrow win

    Read more

  • ISRAEL

    Netanyahu's Likud leads Israel poll amid centrist surge

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)