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Benny Gantz elected speaker of Israeli Knesset

JERUSALEM

The chairman of Israel’s Blue and White party Benny Gantz was elected Thursday to be the next speaker of the Israeli parliament.

Gantz’s was appointed by Knesset members in a 74 – 11 vote.

Speaker Yuli Edelstein submitted his resignation Wednesday after the Supreme Court ordered a vote Thursday.

Gantz was the Knesset member to submit his candidacy for the position.

His candidacy won support from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc, but was opposed on the left and within his own party.

Gantz was quoted by the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper as saying, “Israeli democracy not be negotiated,” in his first statement as the speaker.

“For more than a year, we are under the rule of a transitional government that does not have a mandate on our lives,” he said. “Together to unite the people – Israel comes first.”

The Jerusalem Post said according to a deal there will be a rotation in the Prime Minister’s Office between Netanyahu and Gantz.

“Netanyahu’s allies will start off as finance minister and Knesset speaker. Gantz will serve as foreign minister, MK Gabi Ashkenzi defense minister,” it said.

Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid and Telem Chairman Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon announced the dissolving of the Blue & White alliance in protest to Gantz’s move.

The election of the Chairman of the Blue and White as Knesset Speaker paves the way for an “emergency” unity government to combat the coronavirus, with Netanyahu as prime minister, said Gantz.

The head of the Joint Arab List, Ahmad Tibi, described Gantz and Netanyahu understanding to form a government headed by the latter as mockery in the Knesset.

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