President Shimon Peres
is expected to officially authorize Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
to form a new governing coalition, but not before consulting with representatives of each faction on the matter.
Under Netanyahu's leadership, the joint Likud-Beiteinu party managed to secure more Knesset seats than any of its rivals in the national elections last week, making the incumbent prime minister the most likely candidate to forge a coalition.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Peres lauded the citizens of Israel
for going out to vote, thus helping "shape the future of the state."
He further vowed to facilitate the establishment of a government most reflective of the voters' wishes while allowing each faction to make its voice heard.
"I will make an effort to do this with the necessary urgency while allowing each faction to state its positions," he said. "I consider this a great privilege and an explicit duty."
After receiving the official election results on Wednesday evening, Peres began meetings with representatives of each party elected for the 19th Knesset. The president is required by law to consult with the factions before formally deciding who would head the next government. He was set to conclude the meetings on Thursday.
"The law grants the president considerable discretion, which is why he may only make the decision after seeing the picture in its entirety," said attorney Odit Corinaldi-Sirkis, the legal adviser for the President's Residence. "He may decide which Knesset member has the highest chances of forming a government."
While she noted that the MK authorized to form the coalition does not necessarily have to come from the party with the most Knesset seats, Netanyahu is expected to be tapped for the task. He is to be given six weeks to put together a government.
Representatives of Yesh Atid, which emerged as the second largest faction in the elections, were among the first to meet with the president on Wednesday. Party leader Yair Lapid told reporters after the fact that Yesh Atid is endorsing Netanyahu to head the government.
"In the past, it was common to conduct fervent negotiations before endorsing a prime minister," he said. "This time it hasn't happened. We asserted in our platform that the person who should form the government should be the leader of the biggest party. We meant it, and this is the recommendation that we made to the president. This is a new brand of politics."
Earlier Wednesday, Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, head of the Central Election Committee, expressed hope that the next elections will be held as close as possible to their legally designated date. Rubinstein made the remarks at a ceremony concluding the commission's work for the current election season.