close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
AFP
May 6, 2021

Israel opposition leader Lapid gets chance to form govt

AFP
May 6, 2021

OCCUPIED-AL-QUDS: Israel’s opposition leader Yair Lapid received a mandate to form a government on Wednesday, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s failed effort following the nation’s fourth inconclusive vote in less than two years.

President Reuven Rivlin made the announcement after consultations with party leaders to determine if any lawmaker had a path to clinch a coalition and end an unprecedented era of political gridlock.

Rivlin noted that Lapid, a centrist former television anchor, might seek a deal in which another lawmaker serves first as prime minister, as part of a compromise rotational coalition. “I will do everything to ensure that an Israeli unity government will be formed as soon as possible so we can get to work for the people of Israel,” Lapid said in a statement after the announcement.

Lapid had previously confirmed that he offered such an arrangement to Naftali Bennett, leader of the religious nationalist Yamina party.

Rivlin said he believed Lapid “could form a government that has the confidence of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament), despite there being many difficulties.” Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party finished first in the March 23 election, helping the divisive premier earn a 28-day mandate to negotiate a government.

But that mandate expired at 2100 GMT on Tuesday and Netanyahu informed Rivlin he had been unable to secure a majority in the 120-seat parliament. Netanyahu’s failure further highlighted deep fractures in the Israeli electorate, which spread its support across the political spectrum, including far-right Jewish extremists and a conservative Islamic party.

Rivlin met in person on Wednesday with Lapid and Bennett, who has become a closely-watched kingmaker, despite Yamina controlling only seven parliamentary seats. Bennett backed himself for prime minister in his presidency meeting but later reiterated that he was open to negotiations as his main priority was to avoid a fifth election.

Bennett was once a Netanyahu ally and served as his defence minister but their relationship has disintegrated. During Netanyahu’s ongoing corruption trial where the 71-year-old premier is accused of trading regulatory favours with media moguls in exchange for favourable coverage, the court heard testimony about Netanyahu’s alleged obsession with smearing Bennett.