Israeli government swearing-in delayed until Sunday

JERUSALEM, May 14 (Xinhua) -- The swearing-in of Israel's new government was postponed on Thursday, hours before its inauguration, due to coalition hurdles.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party and Benny Gantz's Blue and White party said in a joint statement that the swearing-in of their power-sharing government was delayed until Sunday.


The move came amidst discontent by some seven senior Likud lawmakers who are close associates of Netanyahu and were not assigned by him for ministerial positions in the new government.


Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi and Deputy Defense Minister Avi Dichter wrote on Twitter that they will boycott the vote in the parliament to approve the new government, which was scheduled to take place late on Thursday night.


Meanwhile, Gantz, Netanyahu's former rival, said he will withdraw his resignation from his position as speaker of the parliament.

The unprecedented power-sharing government was scheduled to be sworn in on Thursday night, after three rounds of inconclusive elections, in which no candidate won enough votes to form a government.

The 18-month-long political deadlock has paralyzed Israel's political arena. Under the unity agreement, signed in April, Netanyahu will serve as prime minister for at least 18 months before being replaced by Gantz.

Gantz will serve as defense minister and "alternate prime minister," a title not existed before in Israeli politics.

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