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The Israeli prime minister, whose party won the fourth legislative round in less than two years, failed to form a cabinet before Wednesday’s deadline, leaving the door open to his rivals. It is now up to President Reuven Rivlin to contact Knesset elected officials to discuss the way forward.
The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, tried for “corruption” in a series of cases, on Wednesday 4 May failed to form a government on schedule, paving the way for his opponents who seek to oust him from power.
On Monday, Israeli channels competed for scenarios, sometimes the most intriguing, allowing Benjamin Netanyahu’s (right-wing) Likud to remain in power by rallying all right-wing forces, even Islamists, to achieve a parliamentary majority.
Leading with 30 seats, out of 120 in the Knesset, in the March 23 legislative elections – the fourth in less than two years in Israel – Benjamin Netanyahu received a mandate from President Reuven Rivlin last month to form a government. But after weeks of intrigue, hallway discussions, and sometimes contradictory rumors, the most enduring prime minister in Israel’s history has failed to muster a majority of 61 MPs to form a government.
“Shortly before midnight, Mr. Netanyahu informed the presidency that he was unable to form a government and therefore was returning the mandate to the president,” President Rivlin’s office said in a brief statement.
So what happens next? According to his services, the Israeli president is to get in touch with Knesset elected officials as early as Wednesday morning to discuss the way forward and thus try to put an end to this soap opera that looks like “endless history”.
The centrist Yaïr Lapid, former journalist and star TV host, at the head for nearly ten years of the Yesh Atid (“There is a future”) training, said on Monday he was ready to be entrusted the task of forming a government. “The time for a new government has come (…) this is a historic opportunity to break down the barriers that divide Israeli society, to unite religious and secular, left, right and center “, he launched.
And in the same breath accuse Prime Minister Netanyahu and his team of not having prevented the “avoidable” tragedy of Mont Meron, where 45 Jews died Friday in a giant stampede on pilgrimage bringing together tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews.
The “block of change”
In recent weeks, Benjamin Netanyahu has attempted to form a “right-wing government” with his allies from the ultra-Orthodox parties and the radical right-wing Yamina and far-right “Religious Zionism” formations. But by adding this support, his political counter stopped at 59 elected representatives, two deputies close to the parliamentary majority.
In an attempt to reach this threshold, the Prime Minister tried unsuccessfully to repatriate right-wing rebels who left Likud to form the conservative “New Hope” party and courted the Islamist party Raam de Mansour Abbas, which made him angry. ‘far right. But will the opposition succeed today where Benjamin Netanyahu failed yesterday? First, the Leader of the Opposition must ensure that he obtains the mandate to form the government.
As such, the former head of the army, Benny Gantz, said on Tuesday evening that he “spoke with all the leaders of the pro-change parties to ask them to recommend that Yaïr Lapid obtain the mandate to form the government”, to then form a government together “in a few hours”.
But once the openly “anti-Netanyahu” voices have been gathered from the left, center and right, the counter for this “change bloc” stops at 51 deputies. And he would therefore have to rally ten other seats among the Arab parties (10 elected in total) or the radical right-wing Yamina formation led by Naftali Bennett, to whom Benjamin Netanyahu even offered on Monday, but without success, the post of prime minister. in a rotation of power.
If the opposition succeeds in forming a government, a page in Israel’s history will turn with the departure of Benjamin Netanyahu, who has spent the past 12 years in power. Otherwise, the Israelis risk returning to the polls … for a fifth time in just over two years.