What happens now that Netanyahu’s mandate has expired?

It appears that Israeli President Reuven Rivlin will need to choose another candidate to task with creating a coalition.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s mandate to form a government has expired Tuesday at 11:59 p.m.

While technically Rivlin could grant Netanyahu an extension of his mandate for an additional two weeks, this scenario is unlikely.

On Wednesday morning, Rivlin will meet with all of the party heads to hear their recommendations for the next candidate. He will likely grant the mandate to a new candidate on Wednesday evening or Thursday.

Theoretically, Rivlin could simply hand the mandate back to the Knesset and open up the possibility for any Knesset member who receives 61 recommendations from their peers to form a government. However, he said he would avoid such a scenario, as returning the mandate to the Knesset could be perceived as akin to “endorsing a fifth election.”

Typically, the candidate with the most recommendations is given the mandate, but Rivlin can use his own judgement and grant it to the candidate he believes has the greatest chance of successfully forming a government.

As the head of Yesh Atid, the second-largest party in the Knesset with 17 seats, Yair Lapid will likely be given the opportunity.

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Reports on Monday indicated that Lapid prepared a sweetheart deal in exchange for Bennett’s support, proposing that he serve as prime minister first for 18 months in a rotation agreement. The deal also allegedly reserves senior ministerial positions for Yemina members.

Bennett reportedly told Yemina party members that if they have a problem with him forming a unity government, they are welcome to resign.

If the second candidate also fails to form a government within 28 days, the mandate will be returned to the Knesset.

At that point, any Knesset member who could successfully form a government within 21 days, with a total of 61 recommendations from their colleagues, may become the prime minister.

But if 21 days pass with no coalition agreement, Israel will head to its fifth elections in a two and a half year span.