Just over a week after the election in israel, president reuven rivlin has once again appointed the right-wing conservative prime minister benjamin netanyahu to form a government.
Rivlin officially gave him the mandate on wednesday evening in his official residence in jerusalem. "I accept the task," said netanyahu. He called for the rapid formation of a broad unity government. Negotiations to form a rough coalition of netanyahu’s likud with the opposition center alliance of ex-military chief benny gantz had failed earlier, however. If netanyahu does not succeed in forming a government, new elections are likely within a few months.
Netanyahu’s likud may have won the election on 17. September with 32 mandates one seat less than gantz’ blue-white get. However, a total of 55 deputies recommended him for the office of head of government – one vote more than gantz received. Neither netanyahu’s right-wing religious camp nor the center-left camp, however, have a majority of 61 of the 120 seats in parliament.
Netanyahu said that in the face of challenges – especially the threat from iran – a unity government and "national reconciliation" are necessary. "We have had a tough election campaign and we must unite the people," he said. In view of the expected publication of U.S. President donald trump’s peace plan, the likud leader said: "we can only achieve a national agreement within the framework of trump’s century plan if we form a broad front."
President rivlin said he had proposed to netanyahu and gantz the formation of a rough coalition with an equal distribution of power. "The people don’t want another election, there’s a consensus on that," rivlin affirmed. "Without compromise there will be no government."In this case it is the burger who will pay the price.
The israeli election committee had previously said that the slight shift in the results in favor of likud was due, among other things, to suspected fraud in six polling stations, whose results were disqualified. Strictly religious united torah judaism party slips from eight to seven seats. Voter turnout was 69.83 percent, slightly higher than the 68.46 percent turnout in the april election.
Political uncertainty prevails in israel in view of the close outcome of the election. Netanyahu and gantz had both officially spoken out in favor of a rough coalition. However, there was a dispute over who should lead them.
Netanyahu, who has been prime minister since 2009, formed a bloc with the right-wing and religious parties immediately after the election and insists on including them in a governing alliance. Gantz, however, had announced before the election that he was seeking a broad-based secular coalition.
Gantz had also rejected a government with netanyahu as prime minister before the election. The reason he gave was the accusations of corruption against netanyahu, which arose on 2. October will be a hearing. After that, netanyahu faces a three-count indictment. Netanyahu’s likud party stresses, however, that there is no alternative candidate for head of government.
According to media reports, blue-white accuses netanyahu of actually seeking a third election. After the election in april, netanyahu had already failed to form a government, although the right-wing religious bloc had a majority. His rival avigdor lieberman, chairman of the ultra-right party israel beitenu (our house of israel) had refused to support netanyahu because of a dispute over compulsory military service, even in ultra-orthodox ways.
The candidate appointed by the president usually has up to six weeks to form a government. This time this time frame could be shortened according to media reports. If netanyahu failed, he might have to hand over the mandate to form the government to gantz, who could then also try his luck. But this decision is up to rivlin, he can also give the mandate directly to the knesset. The latter could then try to find another deputy who could achieve a majority of 61 seats.
Netanyahu had previously spoken out in favor of establishing a demilitarized palastinian state on israel’s side. In the meantime, however, he has abandoned the idea of a two-state solution. Before going to the polls, he had declared that he would annex the jordan valley in the occupied west bank if he won the election. This triggered international criticism, including from germany. Jordan’s king abdullah II. Warned during a visit to berlin that such a move by israel would have a negative impact on relations with jordan and egypt. These are the only arab countries that have signed a peace treaty with neighboring israel.
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