Netanyahu calls for direct elections, says Ra’am support unfeasible
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday called for direct elections to determine the nation’s next premier, saying support from the Palestinian-Islamist party Ra’am is now unfeasible, The Times of Israel has reported.
This comes after Ra’am, or the United Arab List, went against Netanyahu’s bloc in a crucial vote.
Netanyahu said the only means of avoiding another election or his deposition were if the centre-right New Hope broke its commitment not to work with him, or if a one-time direct vote took place.
Israel's most recent election was its fourth in a two-year period.
The measure is seemingly dead in the water, as Ra’am figures have reportedly expressed their likely opposition.
“We don’t need Ra’am,” Netanyahu told the media.
Read more: Mansour Abbas: The Islamist politician reshaping Israel's political landscape
The United Arab List backed Israel's opposition in a vote over allocations to a vital committee on Monday, handing them control of the body.
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The List’s leader, Mansour Abbas, has previously been described as a “kingmaker,” after he suggested he could work with right-wing leaders such as Netanyahu if this allowed him to advance his policy priorities.
He even gave a televised speech in Hebrew earlier this month, appealing to Israeli Jews and expressing his support for intercommunal coexistence.
Ra’am was formerly part of the Joint List, alongside other Arab-majority parties such as the leftist Hadash grouping.