No reason to spend billions on fresh elections: Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Jerusalem, May 28 (IANS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that he is trying his best to form a new government in the last 48 hours before the deadline.

“You can do a lot of things in 48 hours. There is no reason in the world to paralyse the state for another half a year and spend billions on elections,” Xinhua quoted Netanyahu as saying on Monday.

However, he admitted that he had not yet persuaded Avigdor Lieberman, head of Yisrael Beiteinu party, to join the coalition.

Netanyahu made the statement shortly after the Knesset, Israeli Parliament decided to dissolve itself in a preliminary vote fewer than two months after the April 9 general elections.

Just before his statement, Netanyahu met with Lieberman at the Parliament, but the two did not reach an agreement.

According to Israeli law, Netanyahu had 28 days to form the government, before he received a two-week extension which will expire on Wednesday’s midnight.

The right-wing parties won 65 out of the 120 seats in the Israeli Parliament, but without the five seats gained by Lieberman’s party, Netanyahu will not be able to form a coalition with a stable majority.

Lieberman refuses to join the government because Netanyahu does not accept his demand to amend the draft law to set army recruitment quotas for ultra-Orthodox Jewish students.

This amendment is opposed by Yahadut Hatorah and Shas, two ultra-Orthodox parties which are planned to join Netanyahu’s coalition.

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