March 26, 2020 / 4:24 PM / 5 months ago

Gantz elected Israel's parliament speaker, signaling possible deal with Netanyahhu

FILE PHOTO: Leader of Blue and White party, Benny Gantz looks on after voting at a polling station in Israel's national election in Rosh Ha'ayin, Israel March 2, 2020. REUTERS/Nir Elias/File Photo

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz was elected on Thursday as speaker of parliament in a surprise move that appeared to herald a political partnership that could keep Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in power.

With the partial backing of the centrist former general Gantz’s Blue and White party and the support of Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud, Gantz was elected with 74 votes in the 120-member Knesset.

It could pave the way for a “rotation deal” in which Netanyahu and Gantz would take turns as prime minister. Talks to form a unity government were in progress between both parties after a March 2 inconclusive election and in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Reporting by Stephen Farrell

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