Israeli PM’s chief rival becomes new Speaker of Parliament

In an unexpected move that could pave the way for a power-sharing deal as Israel grapples with a worsening Coronavirus crisis, the chief rival of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was on Thursday, March 26, chosen as the new Speaker of Parliament, after Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein abruptly resigned from the post.

The vote passed 74-18 with several Benny Gantz’s former allies, including half of Blue and White, skipping the vote. The move drew angry criticism from his political partners accusing him of betrayal.

“These are not regular days and they demand irregular decisions. Therefore as I said, I intend to examine and advance in every way the establishment of a national emergency government,” said Gantz in his first speech as Speaker. “We will not compromise on the principles that more than 1 million citizens voted for,” he further added.

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