Israeli prime minister fails to form coalition government

The 28-day deadline President Reuven Rivlin issued to Benjamin Netanyahu to form a government has expired as of Wednesday.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a coalition government because he could not gather enough support from other parties by a deadline set for midnight Tuesday.

“The period of 28 days allotted by law to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a government expired at midnight”, President Reuven Rivlin tweeted.

The four-week deadline was issued by Rivlin to the Likud Party leader and the country’s longest-serving prime minister to form a new government. “Shortly before midnight, Netanyahu informed Beit HaNasi that he was unable to form a government and returned the mandate to the President. Tomorrow morning, Beit HaNasi will contact the parties in the Knesset regarding the process of forming a government”, Rivlin added, referring to the president’s residency.

It is expected that Rivlin will task Yair Lapid, a member of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, and leader of the center-left Future Party (Yesh Atid), with forming the government within 28 days. The government’s formation requires the support of at least 61 of the 120 members of the Knesset, something Netanyahu failed to achieve during the elections held on 23 March.

According to Israeli law, in the event that the second person tasked with the government’s formation fails, the Israeli president will refer the task to the Knesset, which must make a formal recommendation of a deputy with the support of at least 61 deputies or call new elections.

On March 23, Israel held its fourth election in two years. Netanyahu and the parties that announced that they would support him remained with 52 deputies, while the anti-Netanyahu bloc had 57 deputies. The country is poised to go for a fifth election soon if the political deadlock persists.

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