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Netanyahu arrives at court for corruption trial

The Israeli Prime Minister appears in court at his corruption trial as President Rivlin begins talks on who should lead the government.

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Benjamin Netanyahu used his power in an “illegitimate” way, declared the prosecutor at the resumption of the trial for corruption of the Prime Minister. This has taken place at the same time as the beginning of post-election consultations by President Reuven Rivlin, decisive for his political future.

As the first head of government in Israel’s history to face criminal charges while in office, Benjamin Netanyahu is accused of corruption, fraud and breach of trust in three cases, charges he firmly denies.

When his trial resumed on April 5, prosecutor Liat Ben-Ari asserted that the Prime Minister had “illegitimately used the great governmental power conferred on him, among other things to seek and obtain unjustified advantages from important media owners in Israel, to advance his personal affairs, especially when he wanted to be re-elected ”.

Benjamin Netanyahu left the Jerusalem district court after opening statements by the prosecution, before hearing the first witnesses.

While Liat Ben-Ari was developing his point, President Reuven Rivlin began two-day discussions with party officials a few kilometers away with a view to nominating a candidate to form a government.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud led the March 23 legislative elections – the fourth in less than two years – with 30 out of 120 seats in the Knesset. But this result, combined with that of his natural allies, does not assure him the majority of 61 seats to form a stable government. Facing him are many formations determined to end his twelve consecutive years as Prime Minister.

For the time being, however, Benjamin Netanyahu’s trial does not threaten his ambitions since he would only have to resign in the event of a final conviction, and the exhaustion of all remedies could take years.

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