Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted to form government, opening door for rivals

Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies fall short of an absolute majority (File)

Jerusalem:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave his rivals the chance to form a government after the inconclusive election that ended Wednesday and ended the divisive premier’s record tenure.

Netanyahu prosecuted corruption charges, stating that he had a 28-day window to secure the coalition after the March 23 vote, Israel’s fourth in less than two years.

The 71-year-old right-wing Likud party won the most seats in the vote, but he and his allies came up short of an absolute majority in the 120-seat Knesset, Israel’s parliament.

The results by deeply fragmented voters left Netanyahu with a difficult path toward 61 seats, as voters largely chose not to reward him for a successful coronovirus vaccination campaign.

President Raven Rivlin’s office said in a statement that Netanyahu “had informed (the presidency) that he was unable to form the government and therefore returned the mandate to the president.”

In power from 1996 to 1999 and again since 2009, Netanyahu has gained a reputation as a master political survivor and the Israeli media has spent the last four weeks speculating about deals that would have made him stay in power. Were against

But the odds faced by Netanyahu in the morning after the vote remained largely unchanged.

The possibility of a Netanyahu-led coalition would require tacit cooperation between the conservative Islamic Raum Party and the far-right Religious Zionism Coalition, whose leaders have fanned anti-Arab rhetoric during their political backers.

Rama’s leader Mansoor Abbas said he was open to any system that improved living standards for Israel’s 20 percent Arab minority.

But the leader of religious zionism, Bezalal Smotrik, has repeatedly called Ram a “terrorist supporter” who refused to work with him.

Netanyahu could also number peacefully with his dependent former usher, religious nationalist Nafli Bennett, and Likud convicts back home in the New Hope Party.

New Hope leader Gideon Saar said his party is committed to ousting Netanyahu.

A multi-millionaire former tech entrepreneur, Bennett said that on Monday he could support Netanyahu to preserve right-wing rule, but saw no way for the prime minister to bring in a viable coalition.

Likud on Wednesday blamed Bennett for what he called a “refusal to form a right-wing government”.

Bennett has long been seen as a staunch supporter and ardent supporter of Jewish settlement on the occupied Palestinian territory in the West Bank.

But he sought to highlight his business and management credibility as the epidemic ravaged Israel’s economy.

Bennett has said that his top priority is to postpone the fifth election and if he fails to form a Netanyahu coalition, he will work towards a unity government.

Bennett can lead such a unity government, despite his Yamina party controlling only seven seats.

“Historical occasion”

Rivlin said he would “approach political leaders on Wednesday morning regarding continuing the process of forming a government.”

He could hand out a 28-day mandate to another jurist, the most likely election after his potential Yash Atid party was second in the vote with opposition leader Yair Lapid.

Lapid has confirmed that in the interest of ending Netanyahu’s term, Bennett was given a chance to serve as head in a rotational coalition.

“There is a historic occasion. To break down barriers at the heart of Israeli society. To unite the religious and secular, left and right and center,” Lapid said on Monday.

“It is time to choose. Between a unitary government or an ongoing division.”

The former television presenter said there was a stampede last week that killed 45 predominantly ultra-Orthodox Jews at a religious festival, resulting in Israel lacking a “functioning government”.

He considered that an ideologically divided coalition “would not be complete” primarily through shared opposition against Netanyahu, but would prioritize national interests.

Parliament Choice

Instead of tapping another jurist to form the government, the president may ask Cassett to select a name, unlikely to break the deadlock that could hasten Israel’s return to the polls.

In a widely criticized manouvere, Netanyahu and his allies manipulated the law to create a direct vote for the prime minister, hoping he would emerge victorious in a divided region.

Likud members took steps to pursue such legislation as the Prime Minister’s mandate was coming to an end on Tuesday, but there were few signs of success.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)

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