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Crunch vote for coalition aimed at unseating Israeli PM draws nearer

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Supporters of veteran Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demonstrate in Tel Aviv against the ‘change’ coalition that is to be put to a confidence vote in parliament this week or next. AFP

Crunch vote for coalition aimed at unseating Israeli PM draws nearer

The speaker of the Israeli parliament will formally notify lawmakers on June 7 of the opposition’s announcement of a coalition to unseat veteran premier Benjamin Netanyahu, his office said.

The notification will set in motion preparations for a confidence vote in the new government, which will now likely be held on June 9 or 14, Israeli media said.

The late June 4 announcement by speaker Yariv Levin, a close Netanyahu ally, allays fears their right-wing Likud party could find procedural ways to block the formation of the motley coalition that would end Netanyahu’s 12 consecutive years in office.

On paper, the coalition announced by opposition leader Yair Lapid just minutes before a midnight June 2 deadline, should command a slender majority in the confidence vote.

But all eyes will be on potential defections from the disparate alliance which is united only by shared hostility to Netanyahu.

Under the agreement, Naftali Bennett of the religious nationalist Yamina party would be premier for two years, to be replaced by the centrist Lapid in 2023.

With possible jail time hanging over him in his ongoing trial on corruption charges, Netanyahu is not expected to give up without a fight.

His supporters have been working hard to win defections from lawmakers from Yamina uncomfortable with Bennett’s alliance with Jewish leftists and Arab conservatives.

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