Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday ended his efforts to form a government weeks after the second elections this year. Netanyahu, the heads of right-wing Likud Party said he was returning the mandate back to president Reuven Rivlin because he was unable to establish a government.
In a statement, Netanyahu said; ‘Since I received the mandate, I have worked tirelessly both in public and behind the scenes to establish a broad, national unity government. That’s what the people want.’
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‘During the past few weeks,” Netanyahu contineu, “I made every effort to bring Benny Gantz to the negotiating table. Every effort to establish a broad national unity government, every effort to prevent another election,’ he said. ‘To my regret, time after time he declined. He simply refused.’
The president will now hold consultations with the representatives of political parties to tell them he hands over the task of putting together a new government to centrist Benny Gantz, head of Blue and White (Kachol Lavan) Party.
Although Netanyahu fell in last month’s elections, meaning, he was short of securing a 61-seat parliamentary majority in the Knesset, President Rivlin gave him the first opportunity to form a government because of full support from the right parties, 55 seats, more than other candidates.
In a short statement, retired General Benny Gantz’s said: ‘Now is the time of action. Blue and White is determined to form the liberal unity government, led by Benny Gantz, that the people of Israel voted for a month ago,’ the statement said.
Gantz may not succeed in the job, but he has expressed willingness to form a partnership with Likud, without Netanyahu leading due to serious legal problems. At these moments, Likud has remained united behind Netanyahu under an agreement he forced them to sign.
Without Netanyahu’s Party, Gantz will have a hard time securing a majority in the Knesset. Meanwhile, he supported by the Arab party from one side to the secular ultra-nationalist party Yisrael Beitenu. The two parties are unlikely to sit together in one government.
Gantz has 28-day to form his government. If he fails a majority of legislators could try to endorse a third candidate, something that has never happened before, and if this option fails, Israel would be forced into the unprecedented scenario of a third election in one year.