President Reuven Rivlin has announced that he has asked incumbent Prime Minister and Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu to form the next government. Netanyahu has been given 28 days to cobble together a coalition, with an option to ask Rivlin for a 14 day extension. Rivlin did not invite Netanyahu to the President's Residence in Jerusalem to formally receive the mandate.
In his decision Rivlin said, "Following transparent consultations, I got the impression that nobody at this stage has a chance of forming a government. The decision to task the candidate with an indictment is subject to a difficult public dispute. The President of the State is not a substitute for the parliament or the court. It is the job of the Knesset to decide on the ethical issue and if a candidate with an indictment can form a government. I have decided to task Netanyahu with the job of forming a government. This decision has not been easy for me in either moral or ethical terms."
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid said, "The President has fulfilled his obligation and had no choice, but handing the mandate to Netanyahu is a mark of shame, which stains Israel and gravely disgraces our status as a law abiding country."
Yesterday, President Rivlin completed his consultations with the leaders of the Knesset parties with 52 MKs recommending Netanyahu and 45 recommending Lapid. Yamina recommended its own party leader Naftali Bennett and Gideon Sa'ar's New Hope and the two Arab parties did not recommend anybody.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on April 6, 2021
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