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Israel’s opposition declares new government, set to unseat Netanyahu

Israel’s opposition leader moved closer to unseating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he officially told the country’s president that he has reached agreements with political allies to form a new government.

Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid party, was tasked with forming a government by President Reuven Rivlin after Netanyahu again failed to put together his own coalition following Israel’s fourth election in less than two years.

In a statement shared on Twitter on Wednesday, Lapid said he had informed Rivlin of the deal.

“This government will work for all the citizens of Israel, those that voted for it and those that didn’t. It will do everything to unite Israeli society,” he said shortly before a midnight deadline (21:00 GMT).

Lapid, a former TV presenter and a secular centrist, won the crucial support of hardline religious-nationalist Naftali Bennett, a technology multi-millionaire who has held a number of government portfolios including the defence ministry, on Sunday.

Under the coalition agreement, Bennett and Lapid would rotate the role of prime minister, with Bennett taking up the post for the first two years and Lapid the final two.

Israel’s latest political drama adds to the woes of Netanyahu, who is on trial for criminal charges of fraud, bribery and breach of trust while in office – accusations he denies.

After losing the job of prime minister, he will not be able to push through changes to basic laws that could give him immunity and will lose control over certain justice ministry nominations

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