Israel’s Gantz nominates himself to be parliament speaker

A file photo taken on March 07, 2020 shows the leader of Israel's Blue and White electoral alliance Benny Gantz delivering a statement in the central Israeli city of Ramat Gan.(AFP)
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Updated 26 March 2020

Israel’s Gantz nominates himself to be parliament speaker

  • The Knesset declared on its website that Gantz was the only candidate to succeed Netanyahu ally Yuli Edelstein

JERUSALEM: Israel’s ex-military chief Benny Gantz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main rival, submitted himself on Thursday as a candidate for speaker of parliament, a move that could lead to an emergency alliance between the two men.
The Knesset, Israel’s parliament, declared on its website that Gantz was the only candidate to succeed Netanyahu ally Yuli Edelstein, who resigned as speaker under pressure on Wednesday.
A formal vote electing Gantz is expected later on Thursday.
A staunch ally of Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party, has committed to backing Gantz as speaker.
A source from Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party, who requested anonymity, told AFP that the party leader’s bid to become speaker was part of an effort to form an emergency government with Likud.
Israel has been mired in a crippling political crisis that has seen the country hold three inconclusive elections in less than a year.
Gantz was tasked with forming a government following the last vote on March 2, but there was no guarantee he would succeed, given the deep divisions within the anti-Netanyahu camp.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic that has seen more than 2,600 Israelis infected, there have been widespread calls for an alliance between Netanyahu and Gantz.


Bahrain to spend $570m on private sector salaries

Updated 08 April 2020

Bahrain to spend $570m on private sector salaries

  • Bahrain's government will spend $570 million on paying salaries to all 100,000 of its citizens employed in the private sector from April to June

DUBAI: Bahrain’s government will spend $570 million in salaries for 100,000 private sector workers from April to June to help with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, the labor ministry said on Wednesday.
The government will also pay electricity and water bills for all Bahraini citizens and businesses and will extend some tax breaks on properties and tourism, it said in a statement.
The initiative is part of a $11 billion stimulus package announced by the government for the private sector to mitigate the impact on the economy from the outbreak.