Netanyahu says new government in the bag. Dickering goes on over posts, laws

Playing for time, PM-designate Binyamin Netanyahu informed President Herzog on Wednesday night, Dec. 21, that he had put together a new coalition government – even though not all the member-parties had signed the document and most ministerial portfolios had yet to be handed out. Amid furious horsetrading, Netanyahu took a chance on filling in the gaps through a hotly disputed legislation blitz and critical appointments inside the week remaining up to the swearing-in of his sixth government.
Meanwhile, he beat by just 12 minutes the deadline awarded him under the presidential mandate for coming up with a government, with the following announcement: “I have been able to form a government that will act for the benefit of all Israel’s citizens. I am acting with all possible speed to have it ready to go by next week.” Herzog responded with good wishes for a successful outcome and a reminder of “government’s obligation to act on behalf of all parts of Israel.” He voiced the hope that all the parties concerned would bend their efforts towards this goal.

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