Likud Denies Report on Shaked ‘Softening Up’ Liberman

YERUSHALAYIM -
Yisrael Beytenu Party leader Avigdor Liberman. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

The question of how to form a government – either on the right or the left – after the upcoming September elections remains a riddle, as Avigdor Liberman again reiterated Thursday night that he would not recommend Benny Gantz of Blue and White to form a government under any circumstances. “The formation of a government must be on the right,” Liberman told supporters. “That is our only option.”

According to polls, Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu could get as many as nine seats in the election. Although September is months away, pollsters quoted in media reports said that Liberman has a solid base of support among Russian voters, and among disaffected secular right-wing voters.

Meanwhile, the Likud denied a report on Channel 13 Thursday night that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had offered Ayelet Shaked a deal for her inclusion on the Likud list: Convince Liberman to back down from his maximalist demands on drafting chareidim, and get him to join the next government. The Likud said that no such offer had been made.

A report in Yisrael Hayom Friday said that Netanyahu had decided against the idea of including Shaked in the Likud altogether – because she would demand a ministry as the price for her joining. Likud MKs who feel they are in line for a ministry have strenuously objected to Shaked’s joining the party for that reason. The report said that after consultations with Likud MKs and others, Netanyahu had decided that the benefits of including her in the party and the government were outweighed by the disadvantages.

In polls last week, the Likud was seen as getting 37 seats in the next election – but that number would rise to 41 if the popular Shaked was on the Likud list.