Coalitions falls in Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

By Fatih Hafiz Mehmet

ANKARA (AA) – The coalition government in Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) collapsed after the People's Party (HP) announced its withdrawal on Wednesday.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kudret Ozersay, who is HP leader as well, announced his party's decision to withdraw from the coalition on Wednesday, according to Turkish Agency Cyprus (TAK).

At a news conference, Ozersay said the party members will decide on whether they will continue as an opposition party or make negotiations to form a government.

He said the reason behind their withdrawal was the property rentals of the ministry of finance and "confidence crisis".

Ozersay added he does not exclude the possibility of snap elections.

Earlier Wednesday, Minister of Finance Serdar Denktas had resigned from his post.

Prime Minister Tufan Erhurman also announced that he will submit government's resignation on Thursday.

In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the TRNC was founded.

The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the dispute, all ending in failure. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries — Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. — ended in 2017 in Switzerland.

Ugandan musician on house arrest for urging gov't fall

                 By Godfrey Olukya<br> 

KAMPALA, Uganda (AA) – Popular musician and opposition politician Bobi Wine was placed under house arrest over threats to overthrow government.

Wine, alias Robert Kyagulanyi, who has indicated he would stand for the presidency in 2021, recently said he wants to overthrow government through protests like those that took place in Sudan and Algeria.

His arrest came after he called for mass protests against police action and other state injustices against him and Ugandans.

Police stopped him from holding a concert Monday and escorted him to his home. There he called a news conference where he threatened to hold a massive demonstration at police headquarters in Kampala which he said would lead to the government's overthrow.

Police spokesman Fred Enanga told Anadolu Agency it was necessary to deploy personnel around Wines’ home to stop him from disrupting the public order.

“Following his being taken to his home by police yesterday, Bobi Wine came up with messages of defiance,” said Enanga. “He made threatening statements against the government. He said he would walk on foot to police headquarters and hold a demonstration from there.”

<p>Enanga emphasized that Wine said he was starting to fight the government so that by 2021 it would have been overthrown -- a statement tantamount to committing high treason, he said.</p>  <p>Opposition politicians have said they are ready to join Wine to change the government through protests.

Israel president officially asks Netanyahu to form govt

                             By Said Amouri</p>    <p>JERUSALEM (AA) - Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday officially tapped Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a new cabinet, according to reports in the Israeli media.</p>    <p>The move comes after Netanyahu’s relative victory in Israel’s April 8 general elections.</p>    <p>Rivlin gave Netanyahu a 28-day deadline for drawing up a new cabinet, which can be extended -- if necessary -- by a further 14 days.</p>    <p>In the event that Netanyahu fails to form a government within the given period, Rivlin will nominate a member of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) to do so.

Netanyahu secures votes to form next Israeli government

By Abdelraouf Arnaout

JERUSALEM (AA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has secured the required Knesset (parliament) support to form the upcoming government, according to Israeli media.

The right-wing parties of Yisrael Beiteinu and United Right on Tuesday informed President Reuven Rivlin of their recommendations to task Netanyahu with forming the Cabinet.

On Monday, Blue and White coalition — the main rival of Netanyahu-led Likud party — recommended its leader Benny Gantz to form the government. Gantz was also recommended by the Labor Party.

Arab Knesset members, for their part, have refrained from supporting any Knesset members.

On Monday, Rivlin began consultation with parties that won seats in the Knesset to task a member with forming the next government.

Netanyahu's Likud party has won 36 Knesset seats in the April 9 election.

Libya’s Haftar anticipates ‘unity’ gov’t within month

            By Jihad Nasr </p>    <p>TRIPOLI (AA) - Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar has reportedly hinted that a “unity government” could be drawn up “within weeks or a month”.  <br>

According to a source close to the military commander, Haftar made the assertion on Saturday while addressing young people in the eastern city of Benghazi.

Haftar, the source added, had attributed the phenomenon to “the failure of Libyan leaders to provide the country’s young people with adequate employment opportunities”.

Officials from Libya’s Tripoli-based government have yet to comment on Haftar’s reported remarks.

Late last month, however, Ghassan Salameh, the UN’s envoy to Libya, said a UN-sponsored National Conference would be held on April 14 in Libya’s northwestern town of Ghadames.

Libya has been beset by turmoil since 2011, when a bloody NATO-backed uprising led to the ouster and death of President Muammar Gaddafi after more than four decades in power.

Since then, Libya’s stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of power — one in Tobruk and another in Tripoli — and a host of heavily armed militia groups.

Palestine: Abbas appoints new prime minister

RAMALLAH, Palestine (AA) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday appointed senior Fatah official Mohammad Shtayeh as a new prime minister, according to the official Wafa news agency.

Shtayeh, a member of Fatah's Central Committee, will replace Rami Hamdallah, who tendered his resignation in January upon "recommendations" from Fatah group.

Fatah argued that the move was taken over "intransigence" of its rival group Hamas and "its refusal to deal with the national reconciliation government."

Hamas and Fatah have been at odds since the former seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 from Fatah after street fighting.

Born in 1958 in a village near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, Shtayeh is a Palestinian politician and economic expert.

He served as a minister of public works and housing between 2005-2006 and 2008-2010 and head of the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction.

Shtayeh holds a doctorate in economic development from the University of Sussex, UK, and worked as a professor and dean at Birzeit University.

Kazakhstan: President appoints Mamin as prime minister

             ASTANA, Kazakhstan (AA) - Kazakhstan’s president on Monday appointed Askar Mamin as the prime minister of the country.</p>    <p>In a written statement, the Kazakh Presidency said President Nursultan Nazarbayev presented Mamin, 53, as the candidate for the post to the approval of the lawmakers at a parliamentary session.</p>    <p>After the parliament ratified Mamin's candidacy, Nazarbayev signed the decree announcing Mamin as the premier of Kazakhstan.</p>      <p>On Thursday, Nazarbayev dismissed the government citing a lack of economic growth. </p>  <p>It marked the end of Bakytzhan Sagintayev, former Kazakh premier, government which began in 2016.</p>    <p>Mamin, who was the former deputy prime minister, was appointed as the interim premier, filling the gap for the post.

Ramallah cuts stipends for Palestine martyrs, detainees

            By Nour Abu Aisha <br>

GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – The Ramallah-based Palestinian government has reduced monthly stipends paid to the families of Palestinians martyred or imprisoned by Israel, according to local sources.

Daoud Shihab, a spokesman for the Islamic Jihad movement, said: "Cutting stipends for the families of martyrs, prisoners, former prisoners, and civil servants [in Gaza] is a crime against the Palestinian homeland and cause."

At a joint press conference organized by several Palestinian factions (and held near the Gaza City home of President Mahmoud Abbas), Shihab asserted: “Our prisoners [in Israeli jails] should not be exploited for political point-scoring.”

Ramallah’s decision to reduce stipends for the families of prisoners and martyrs, he added, “specifically targets the Palestinian people and their struggle against occupation”.

Leaders of other factions who attended Thursday’s press conference demanded that the move be reversed "as it contradicts the most basic principles and ethics of the Palestinian people”.

In a related development, the Al-Dameer Association for Human Rights, a Palestinian NGO, reported Thursday that Ramallah had also cut the salaries of more than 5,000 civil servants in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

According to the NGO, the move was predicated on the “political affiliations” of the targeted civil servants — a reference to the link many of them have with Hamas.

Ramallah, for its part, has yet to issue a statement on the reported stipend and salary cuts.

Turkey welcomes formation of new government in Lebanon

            By Fatih Hafiz Mehmet</p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) - Turkey welcomes the formation of a new government in Lebanon, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement late Friday.</p>  <p>Following an eight-month deadlock, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced Thursday that the country has a new cabinet. </p>  <p>&quot;This development will definitely contribute to the social peace and stability of Lebanon,&quot; the ministry said.</p>  <p>It said Turkey hopes Lebanon's traditional understanding of consensus and comprehensiveness will continue during the period of the new government.</p>  <p>The statement added that Turkey has always placed &quot;great importance&quot; on the sovereignty, independence, security and stability of Lebanon and will continue to support the &quot;friendly and brotherly Lebanese people and government&quot;.

Lebanese premier announces birth of long-waited Cabinet

             By Ali Abo Rezeg </p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) - Following an eight-month deadlock, Lebanon’s prime minister on Thursday officially announced the country has a new Cabinet. </p>  <p>Following a meeting with the country’s president, Saad Hariri told reporters at the Baabda presidential palace in the capital Beirut that a Cabinet had finally been formed.</p>  <p>&quot;We apologize to the Lebanese people about the delay of the Cabinet formation,&quot; Hariri said. </p>  <p>Ever since Lebanon held parliamentary polls last May, Hariri has struggled to draw up a new government.</p>  <p>&quot;Solving the country's problems and overcoming the economic crisis can be achieved only by [national] consensus,&quot; he added. </p>  <p>A well-informed source who asked not to be named told Anadolu Agency earlier Thursday that Hariri had already gone to the presidential palace to submit the proposed government lineup.

According to the same source, the new lineup includes 30 Cabinet ministers from all of the country’s main political factions.

Earlier Thursday Hariri said in televised remarks that "the incoming government will have to make difficult choices, not least of which will be how to reduce the state budget."

The process of forming a cabinet has faced repeated delays amid mutual recriminations between leading political forces and demands by certain parties for greater representation.