Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu MORE He was elected Tuesday to try to build a governing coalition as lawmakers seek a way to avoid an unprecedented fifth snap election in two years.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who primarily serves as the forward chairman, said he believes Netanyahu has the best chance of forming a coalition that has a majority in the country’s parliament.
Netanyahu’s Likud party won 30 seats in the most recent elections, which together with its right-wing and ultra-Orthodox partners have 52 seats. That means the prime minister oversees the bloc that won the most seats early last month, although it still falls short of the 61 seats needed to form a 120-seat Knesset majority.
“I have reached a decision based on the number of recommendations, which indicates that Congressman Benjamin Netanyahu has a slightly higher probability of forming a government. Consequently, I have decided to entrust you with the task of doing so, ”Rivlin said in her announcement.
“This is not an easy decision on a moral and ethical basis, in my opinion …[T]The State of Israel should not be taken for granted. And I fear for my country ”, he added. “But I am doing what is required of me as President of the State of Israel, in accordance with the law and the ruling of the court, and fulfilling the will of the sovereign – the Israeli people.”
I have reached a decision based on the number of recommendations, which indicates that MP Benjamin Netanyahu has a slightly higher probability of forming a government. Consequently, I have decided to entrust you with the task of doing so.
– Reuven Rivlin (@PresidentRuvi) April 6, 2021
Rivlin’s decision gives Netanyahu 28 days to try to form a coalition that will win the seats necessary for a majority in the Knesset with the possibility of extending his efforts for 14 days. If Netanyahu fails, Rivlin can turn to someone else to try to form a government.
Rivlin’s decision to turn to Netanyahu came a day after the president met with representatives of the 13 parties that won Knesset seats to get their recommendations on who should create a coalition.
The March elections were the fourth snap election to take place in two years after repeated attempts to win a 61-seat coalition, an unprecedented pace that underscored political divisions across the country.
Netanyahu has vowed to form a “full-fledged right-wing government,” although he has fought to win the unanimous backing of the myriad small right-wing parties that have won seats. He would also have to walk a tightrope in convincing another far-right party to side with him in a coalition that includes a small Arab Islamist party.
The 90 seats that Likud did not win are divided among various parties, with the centrist Yesh Atid party winning the second most seats in March at 17. However, Netanyahu’s more centrist and liberal opponents have remained too fractured to form a coalition. for Likud rival.
“The president did his duty and had no other choice,” said Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid. saying right after Rivlin’s announcement. “But giving the mandate to Netanyahu is a shameful shame that tarnishes Israel and shames our status as a law-abiding state.”
The next few weeks will be crucial for Netanyahu as he also seeks to combat corruption charges against him. Remaining in power could help Netanyahu beat charges of fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in three separate cases.
Netanyahu has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has called the case against him a “witch hunt.”