Benjamin Netanyahu passes threshold for nomination as Israel’s premier

Benjamin Netanyahu nomination as prime minister had been a foregone conclusion after his Likud party captured the largest number of seats in the Knesset in last week’s ballot. (AFP)
Updated 16 April 2019
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Benjamin Netanyahu passes threshold for nomination as Israel’s premier

  • Under law, President Reuven Rivlin chooses a party leader whom he judges has the best prospect of putting together a ruling coalition
  • Netanyahu’s nomination had been a foregone conclusion after his Likud party captured the largest number of seats in the Knesset

JERUSALEM: Israel’s president said on Tuesday a majority of parliament members had advised him to have Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu form a government after the April 9 election, effectively ensuring his nomination.
In office for the past decade, Netanyahu won a fifth term despite an announcement by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s in February that he intends to charge the prime minister in three corruption cases. Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing.
Under law, President Reuven Rivlin chooses a party leader whom he judges has the best prospect of putting together a ruling coalition. He will announce his candidate on Wednesday.
In broadcast remarks on Tuesday, the second day of Rivlin’s public consultations with political parties on their preferences for prime minister, he said Netanyahu “now has a majority of Knesset members” behind him.
“Any room I had for maneuver has effectively been removed at this moment,” the president said.
Netanyahu’s nomination had been a foregone conclusion after his right-wing Likud party captured the largest number of seats in the Knesset in last week’s ballot and his closest rival, centrist Benny Gantz, conceded defeat.
Netanyahu has said he intends to build a coalition with five far-right, right-wing and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties that would give the Likud-led government 65 seats, four more than the outgoing administration he heads.
Representatives of all of those parties told Rivlin at the meetings, broadcast live on the Internet, that they recommended Netanyahu get the nod.
Gantz, a former military chief of staff whose Blue and White party won 35 parliamentary seats, would likely be next in line to try to assemble a government if Netanyahu fails to do so within 42 days of being chosen by Rivlin.
Netanyahu is under no legal obligation to resign if indicted. He can still argue, at a pre-trial hearing with Mandelblit whose date has not been set, against the formal filing of bribery and fraud charges against him.
The Israeli leader, whose supporters hail his tough security policies and international outreach, is set to become the country’s longest-serving prime minister in July.


Iraqi forces launch anti-Daesh operation north of Baghdad

Updated 20 July 2019
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Iraqi forces launch anti-Daesh operation north of Baghdad

  • The mainly Shiite PMF have been an effective force against Daesh
  • This is the second phase of the operation dubbed “Will to Victory”

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s military said Saturday its troops in partnership with security agencies and paramilitary forces launched the second phase of an operation aimed at clearing remnants of the Daesh group from north of Baghdad and surrounding areas.
This is the second phase of the operation dubbed “Will to Victory,” which started two weeks earlier and targeted the area along the border with Syria. The military said the new target area is north of Baghdad and in the Diyala, Salahuddin and Anbar provinces.
Although Iraq declared victory against Daesh in July 2017, the extremists have turned into an insurgency and continue to carry out deadly attacks in the country.
The military said Iraqi troops, Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces, the federal police and others are taking part in the operation supported by the Iraqis and the U.S-led international coalition.
On Saturday, Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi visited the operation room alongside the deputy head of the PMF, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis.
Earlier this month, the Iraqi government moved to place the Iranian-backed militias under the command of the armed forces. The move was believed to be an attempt to curb the powerful militias, particularly amid rising tension between Iran and the US, the power brokers in Iraq.
The mainly Shiite PMF have been an effective force against Daesh and are a significant political force, with government ministers and 48 seats in the 329-member parliament.