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    Israeli Prime minister Netanyahu prepares to deliver a statement at the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) in Jerusalem, ahead of UN the Security Council discussion on Hezbollah's tunnels into Israel, on December 19, 2018

    New Centrist Coalition to Challenge PM Netanyahu Gov't in Knesset Elections

    © AFP 2019 / MENAHEM KAHANA
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    The move has sent shockwaves throughout Israel's political life in the first direct challenge to Mr. Netanyahu's decade-long rule.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces challenges from the country's centrist Members of Knesset after they announced a new coalition on Thursday. 

    Yesh Atid party head Yair Lapid and retired military chief Benny Gantz have tabled a list of MKs ready to stand for elections on 9 April that "will constitute the new Israeli ruling party", the pair said in a joint statement which also stated that they were "motivated by national responsibility."

    "The new ruling party will bring forth a cadre of security and social leaders to ensure Israel's security and to reconnect its people and heal the divide within Israeli society," they said. 

    The coalition promises a rotating leadership if elected, where Mr. Gantz would become prime minister first and Mr. Lapid would replace him later, with former military chiefs, Gabi Ashkenazi and Moshe Yaalon following after.

    Mr. Ashkenazi said that he was joining the new party due to the "pivotal moment and the national task at hand." But the joint list of candidates must win a parliamentary majority with other parties if it wishes to form the next government.

    READ MORE: Netanyahu Popular Among Some Voters, But People to Vote for Right-Wing – Scholar

    Mr. Netanyhu has been embattled by corruption allegations and could potentially face indictment. The prime minister has ratcheted up a right-wing support base to defer the charges. He reached a deal on Wednesday with two marginal religious-nationalist parties to bolster his power in the Knesset. 

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    foreign elections, democratic elections, political challenges, elections, Blue and White Party, Likud Party, Knesset, Benny Gantz, Gabi Ashkenazi, Benjamin Netanyahu, Yair Lapid, Israel, Tel Aviv
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