TV: Lapid offered Bennett to be prime minister first in power-sharing deal

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid agreed to allow Yamina’s Naftali Bennett to serve as prime minister first in a potential power-sharing agreement between them during talks yesterday, Channel 13 reports.

No sources are given for the report.

Such a government would be a slim one, with 18 ministers maximum: nine for Bennett, Benny Gantz and Gideon Sa’ar on one side, and nine for Lapid and others on the center-left on the other.

According to the network, Bennett must now decide whether he wants to be prime minister in such a government, or back Benjamin Netanyahu and likely go to a fifth election, as Netanyahu does not appear to have any path to forming one.

According to a separate report on Channel 12, citing allies of the Yamina chief, Bennett would prefer a full right-wing government led by Netanyahu but this does not currently seem possible; his second choice would be a right-wing government led by Netanyahu with the outside support of the Islamist Arab Ra’am party, but this has been ruled out by Religious Zionism’s Bezalel Smotrich; and his third choice would be a partnership with Lapid and the center-left in which Bennett serves as prime minister.

But the report says Bennett still prefers this third-best option to a fifth election.

Yamina party leader MK Naftali Bennett attends a Channel 12 news conference in Jerusalem on March 7, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Channel 13 report says a decision by Bennett to agree to a deal with Lapid could lead most of the center-left parties to recommend Bennett as prime minister when they meet with President Reuven Rivlin tomorrow.

The network’s commentator Ravi Drucker claims that there is currently a sense of despair in Netanyahu’s Likud, with people telling him the party is “close to losing power.”

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