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Netanyahu to hold 'decisive' meeting to avert early elections

Netanyahu wants to prevent early elections [AFP]

Date of publication: 18 November, 2018

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Netanyahu said he will host a meeting with Israel's finance minister to prevent an early election.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has announced he will hold a "decisive" meeting on Sunday with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon in a final bid to avert early elections.

Netanyahu's ruling coalition was left with a single seat majority in parliament after a walkout Wednesday by former Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman and his hawkish Yisrael Beitenu Party.

Lieberman quit over a Gaza ceasefire deal, which on Tuesday ended the worst flare-up between Israel and the territory's Islamist rulers Hamas since a 2014 war.

Kahlon's centre-right Kulanu party holds 10 parliamentary seats and is vital to the survival of Netanyahu's ruling coalition.

While the next elections are currently scheduled for November 2019, Kahlon has called for polls to be held "as soon as possible".

"I'm going to meet Moshe Kahlon before the weekly minister's council Sunday for one last attempt to convince him not to bring down the government," Netanyahu, who heads the Likud party, said Saturday on Twitter.

"We can't bring down a right-wing government. All members of Likud want to continue serving the state for another year."

Kahlon, however, told Israel's Channel 2 Saturday evening that he did  not think it was possible to keep a coalition going with such a slim majority.

"We have to act responsibly," he said.

Netanyahu held crunch talks on Friday with Education Minister Naftali Bennett, whose religious nationalist Jewish Home party has also threatened to quit unless he is given Lieberman's job.

The party's eight lawmakers are another crucial component of the premier's razor-thin parliamentary majority.

Netanyahu said Friday he was temporarily taking over the defence minister post.

Bennet on Saturday told Israel's second channel that Lieberman had "collapsed the government, there is no more government and we are heading towards elections - there is no other alternative".

"We have agreed with Moshe Khalon that there is no more government," he said.

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