Two Israeli opposition parties have decided to run together to challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party in the country’s April elections.
The Yesh Atid and Israel Resilience parties announced Thursday that they will run together under the new Blue and White Party.
Under the new party, Israeli Resilience Party leader Benny Gantz would serve as prime minister until November 2021 if the group wins, while Yair Lapid, of Yesh Atid, would serve out the remaining term.
Moshe Ya’alon would serve as defense minister to start the party’s term and that position will be handed over to Gantz when he steps down as prime minister in 2021.
“Out of national responsibility, Gantz, Lapid and Ya’alon decided to form a united list that will be Israel’s new ruling party,” the candidates said in a joint statement. “The new ruling party will bring forth a cadre of security and social leaders to ensure Israel’s security and to reconnect its people and heal the divide within Israeli society.”
Expecting the move, Netanyahu has been working to solidify a coalition of far-right parties that could help him and Likud hold onto power.
In Israeli elections, voters cast their ballots for party candidates in its 120-member parliament called the Knesset. No one party has won an outright majority in the legislature since Israel’s creation in 1948, leading to post-election coalition-building to govern.
Although current polls have Netanyahu’s Likud Party well out in front going into the April 9 elections, they also suggest the race would tighten considerably when Israel Resilience and Yesh Atid join forces to form a centrist and left-wing parliamentary block.