Netanyahu leading race to get most nominations for PM; Rivlin fears new election

After ‘Change Bloc’s’ New Hope party abstained, the likelihood increased that the prime minister will get first dibs at forming a government.

By World Israel News Staff

After meeting with representatives of the 13 parties that entered the 24th Knesset to hear their recommendations on who should form the next government, President Reuven Rivlin said he fears another deadlock, which would result in the fifth national election since April 2019.

Rivlin held consultations at his residence throughout the day and evening on Monday. A minimum of 61 seats is required to form a coalition.

“At the moment, I cannot see a way to form a coalition,” Rivlin said.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud, the ultra-Orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism, and the Religious Zionism parties recommended Netanyahu – totaling 52 Members of Knesset.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid, Blue and White, Yisrael Beiteinu, Meretz and Labor endorsed Lapid, with a total of 34.

Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party of seven recommended their leader.

New Hope, Hadash, the Joint List and Ra’am have all decided to recommend no one.

New Hope is led by former Likud member Gideon Sa’ar, who suffered a heavy defeat in December 2019 when he challenged Netanyahu for the party leadership. He left Likud and created his own party a year later with the goal of forming a right-wing government without Likud and unseating the prime minister.

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In the 2021 election, however, he won merely six seats in the 120-seat Knesset, while Likud got 30. Yesh Atid came in second, with 17 seats.

New Hope MK Yifat Shasha-Biton said the party would have backed a joint government with a rotational premiership between Lapid and Bennett, which seemed very possible until Monday. The way it stands now, Shasha-Biton said, it would be unrealistic to expect either one of them to succeed at forming a coalition, which is why her party abstained.

Once the president nominates a candidate, that Knesset Member will have 28 days, according to Basic Law: The Government (2001), to form a new government. If additional time is required, the president is authorized to grant an extension of up to 14 days, according to law.

“After four election campaigns, democracy has exhausted itself,” the president remarked Monday.