Political Fixer Avigdor Lieberman Vows Israel's Third Election Will Be Decisive

Key figure in deadlocked, Lieberman has made similar statements in the past

Avigdor Lieberman in a cultural event in Tel Aviv, December 2019.
Avigdor Lieberman in a cultural event in Tel Aviv, December 2019. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Avigdor Lieberman, considered Israel's election kingmaker, said on Thursday that Israel cannot afford going to a fourth election round after the March 2 ballot.

"One way or another, there'll have to be a resolution," he told Army Radio, refusing to say whether he will continue to insist on a unity government.

Lieberman has made a similar statement last September, before the second round of elections. "It doesn't matter if there will be 61 Knesset seats [to form a coalition] or not, there won't be 61 seats to vote in favor of dissolving the Knesset," he said at the time.

Lieberman, whose party garnered eight out of 120 Knesset seats in September's election, up from five in the April election, is a key figure in Israel's deadlocked electoral process. The former defense minister's support is essential for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be able to form a government.

Lieberman has repeatedly called for a broad unity government with Netanyahu and his politcial rival Benny Gantz, and rejected proposals for a narrow right-wing government or a center-left minority government.

Following Netanyahu's statement Wednesday that he will seek immunity from prosecution in three corruption cases, Lieberman said that his party, Yisrael Beiteinu, "won't be part of the immunity coalition. All of us as one will vote against immunity for Netanyahu."

Lieberman slammed Netanyahu, adding that "the State of Israel has become a prisoner of Netanyau, held hostage by his own personal problem. He doesn't care about left, right, religious or secular. The only thing Netanyahu cares for is [gaining an] immunity coalition. All the rest is nonsense."

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