Israel’s president tasks opposition leader with forming gov’t
Jerusalem, May 5 (EFE).- Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday tasked Yair Lapid, leader of centrist main opposition party Yesh Atid, with forming a new government after incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu’s failure to forge a viable coalition following the country’s fourth election in less than two years.
“I have just spoken with the member of Knesset (parliament) Yair Lapid and I informed him that I am giving him the mandate to form a government,” Rivlin told a press conference.
Lapid got the most recommendations, 56, from lawmakers of the anti-Netanyahu bloc during the consultations the president began a few hours after the deadline for Netanyahu to form a government expired.
Yesh Atid, with 17 seats, is the second-largest party in the 120-seat Knesset.
Lapid, a former television news anchor, will have 28 days to obtain support from at least 61 Knesset members to form a government.
Having received 56 recommendations, “it is clear” that Lapid “has the possibility of forming a government that gains the confidence of parliament,” Rivlin said.
Returning the mandate to the Knesset, as proposed by Netanyahu’s Likud party and its and partners, “would have been contrary to the law” and would have led to the calling of yet another election without having exhausted all of the alternatives, the president added.
Lapid faces an uphill task of forming a coalition from the a broad amalgam of parties, ranging from the left to the extreme right, that are currently united only by their opposition to Netanyahu, who was indicted in 2019 on corruption charges.
The Likud chief has been in office for 12 years, making him the longest-serving head of government in Israel’s history.
Netanyahu was previously prime minister from 1996-1999. EFE