President Reuven Rivlin whose job now is to choose the party leader with the best chanced of formin

Rivlin: Majority of Knesset members back Netanyahu as PM

President says he will ask Likud leader in Wednesday meeting to form next government; prime minister has potential 65-seat coalition in 120-strong parliament, gets 42 days to build government

President Reuven Rivlin said on Tuesday a majority of parliament members had advised him to have Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu form a government after the April 9 election, effectively ensuring his nomination.



In office for the past decade, Netanyahu won a fifth term despite an announcement by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit's in February that he intends to charge the prime minister in three corruption cases. Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing.



President Rivlin inviting Prime Minister Netanyahu to form the government after the last elections in 2015. (Photo: GPO)  (Photo: GPO)
President Rivlin inviting Prime Minister Netanyahu to form the government after the last elections in 2015. (Photo: GPO)


Under law, President Reuven Rivlin chooses a party leader whom he judges has the best prospect of putting together a ruling coalition. He will announce his candidate on Wednesday.


In broadcast remarks on Tuesday, the second day of Rivlin's public consultations with political parties on their preferences for prime minister, he said Netanyahu "now has a majority of Knesset members" behind him.


"Any room I had for maneuver has effectively been removed at this moment," the president said.


Netanyahu's nomination had been a foregone conclusion after his right-wing Likud party captured 35  seats in the Knesset in last week's ballot and his closest rival, centrist Benny Gantz of the Blue and White Party, conceded defeat.


Netanyahu has said he intends to build a coalition with five far-right, right-wing and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties that would give the Likud-led government 65 seats, four more than the outgoing administration he heads.


Representatives of all of those parties told Rivlin at the meetings, broadcast live on the Internet, that they recommended Netanyahu get the nod.


Benny Gantz (Photo: Tal Shimoni)
Benny Gantz (Photo: Tal Shimoni)


Gantz, a former military chief of staff whose party also won 35 Knesset seats, would likely be next in line to try to assemble a government if Netanyahu fails to do so within 42 days of being chosen by Rivlin.


Netanyahu is under no legal obligation to resign if indicted. He can still argue, at a pre-trial hearing with Mandelblit whose date has not been set, against the formal filing of bribery and fraud charges against him.


The Israeli leader, whose supporters hail his tough security policies and international outreach, is set to become the country's longest-serving prime minister in July.


פרסום ראשון: 04.16.19, 15:34
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