Netanyahu’s coalition government is on its last legs, said former Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman on Saturday.
The Yisrael Beytenu chief spoke in Modi’in on Saturday regarding criminal investigations targeting Aryeh Deri (Shas) and Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union), arguing that Netanyahu's already narrow government was too weak to survive scandal.
Liberman reported that he had spoken to both Deri and Herzog, and given the fallout of the ongoing investigations, saw little chance the government would last out the year.
“I have no idea what the suspicions [in the investigations] are or the details,” Liberman said. But, he continued, “I spoke with Deri yesterday and the day before that, and I also spoke with [Herzog]. They both sounded very relaxed and self-secure, and I really hope that nothing comes out of this in the end.”
Given the ruling coalition’s narrow majority of 61 to 59, Liberman predicted new elections by the end of the year, and all but ruled out the possibility of a unity government with Labor.
“I think the chances of a unity government are close to zero. I think all of this talk about expanding the coalition are irrelevant. We need to prepare ourselves for the fact that there will be new elections by the end of the year.”
Liberman noted that even some coalition partners were discussing the possible breakdown of the government.
“Just last week Treasury Minister [Moshe Kachlon] said that it’s impossible to continue with this coalition,” said Liberman. “By the end of the year we’ll have new elections”.
Once a key ally of Netanyahu, Liberman has rebuffed calls to join the government and expand the coalition's majority. Earlier in March Liberman laid out a list of conditions for his party's entry into the government, including a death penalty for terrorists and a comprehensive military action to destroy Hamas, but said there was little chance of his demands being met.