Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin handed the mandate to form a new government to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu early Tuesday afternoon.
Netanyahu will now have 28 days to try to form a coalition of at least 61 MKs. If he does not succeed in doing so during that period, Rivlin is allowed to grant him a 14-day extension or retract the mandate.
In his speech, Rivlin bemoaned the fact that no candidate has a realistic chance of forming a government and in fact if he was legally allowed to do he would grant the mandate to the Knesset. But since Netanyahu has a “slightly higher chance” of forming a government, he is compelled to hand the mandate to him.
A total of 16 MKs did not recommend anyone to form a government, including the members of Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope party and the Arab MKs.
“The results of the consultations, that were open to all, lead me to believe that no candidate has a realistic chance of forming a government that will have the confidence of the Knesset,” Rivlin said during his announcement Tuesday afternoon. “In fact, if the law would allow me to do so, I would give the decision back to the representatives of the people, to the Knesset. But as I have said, I cannot do so according to law. In the position in which we find ourselves today, the law obliges me to entrust one of the candidates with forming a government.”
“After consulting with the representatives of all the factions in the Knesset, the following picture has emerged: 52 MKs requested that I entrust MK Binyamin Netanyahu with forming a government. 45 MKs requested that I entrust MK Yair Lapid with forming a government. 7 MKs requested that I entrust MK Naftali Bennett with forming a government. 16 MKs did not make any recommendation to me.”
“Given this state of affairs, when there is no majority of 61 Knesset members supporting a particular candidate, and without additional considerations indicating the chances of the candidates to form a government, I have come to a decision based on the numbers of recommendations, which indicates that MK Benjamin Netanyahu has a slightly higher chance of forming a government. Accordingly, I have decided to entrust him with the task of doing so.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)