Last chance to avoid elections: Knesset given task to find new prime minister

The president has given the 120-member Knesset 21 days to attempt to form a government with a new prime minister. The chances are slim.

By World Israel News Staff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu couldn’t succeed. On Wednesday at midnight, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz lost his chance. Now it’s the’s Knesset’s turn.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin handed the task of forming a government to the Knesset on Thursday in a ceremony at his residence. Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein of the Likud, as representative of the parliament, took the mandate from him.

Rivilin said that the Knesset members must ask themselves: “What is my duty to the state and its citizens?”

Edelstein said, “Nobody wants more elections.”

The Knesset will have 21 days to try and form a government. The time expires on December 11 at midnight.

Members from various factions will attempt to gather the necessary minimum of 61 seats to support a candidate who they think will have the support and ability to build a governing coalition.

If a candidate is found – by all accounts, an unlikely scenario – he or she will then have 14 days to form a government with no chance of extension.

It is acceptable for the Knesset members to put forward the names of the leaders of the two main parties – Netanyahu or Gantz. Their failure to form a government doesn’t exclude them from the process.

If the Knesset doesn’t succeed in putting forward a candidate, it will be treated as if the Knesset has decided to dissolve itself and a third round of elections will be held. They would take place in March 2020.

This is the first time in Israel’s history that the mandate has been handed to the Knesset as a whole. But it’s been a field of firsts for Israeli politics. The April and September elections marked the first time back-to-back elections were held.