This evening, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz informed President Reuven Rivlin that, at the end of the 28 days allotted to him to form a government after sitting prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to do so, he too had failed in the task. Gantz was unable to prise Netanyahu and the Likud away from the right-wing block of parties, with 55 Knesset seats, to form a unity government. At midnight tonight, for the first time in its history, Israel will enter the third stage provided for by law following an election, in which the Knesset has 21 days in which to propose a candidate to form a government. The proposal must be backed by 61 of the Knesset's 120 members. If this does not happen, which is probable, Israel will hold yet another general election.
"Forming a government is not just a technical matter of votes and a majority, but is a moral and historic mission," Gantz said this evening. "From the day I entered public life, I vowed not to turn my back on the things to which I was committed. I undertook not to see a historic mission as a means of fulfilling personal needs. Over 28 days, I turned every stone and every grain of sand to bring leadership of morality and values, a kind of leadership that has become forgotten.
"Against the leadership I wanted to institute stands a block that insists on putting the personal welfare of one man before the welfare of patients lying in hospital corridors. Against the grains of sand I cleared away stood a line of losers refusing to march towards an era of political stability. This is a dangerous development in the annals of our country, to deny the citizens of Israel the rulership they chose by a clear majority and to fortify themselves in a transition government for more than a year. The people is sovereign, and it stands above the personal wishes of this or that leader. And the people chose me to lead the Israeli nation," Gantz concluded.
Blue and White said in a statement that Gantz had told the president that he was committed in the 21 days remaining to continue making every effort to form a good government for the citizens of Israel. Gantz thanked the president and asked for his continued assistance in the days ahead.
Meanwhile, the Likud central committee will convene of December 5 to vote on cancelling the primary election for party leader and for the party's list of candidates for the Knesset.
If the motion passes, Netanyahu will run as Likud leader in the elections for the twenty-third Knesset without facing opposition in his party. The Likud constitution mandates a leadership election after the Knesset is dissolved, but the party decided when the twenty-first Knesset was dissolved to subordinate this clause to a decision to allow Netanyahu to continue as leader without a contest.
The last time a contest was held for the leadership of Likud was immediately after the elections for the nineteenth Knesset in early 2014, when Netanyahu won against Danny Danon and Moshe Feiglin.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on November 20, 2019
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