President Rivlin Gives Netanyahu Two-week Extension to Form Next Government

Yisrael Beiteinu chief Avigdor Lieberman, who recommended Netanyahu to build the next coalition, demands 'victory' rather than an arrangement for Gaza as condition for joining the coalition

File photo: President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attend a news conference at the President's residence in Jerusalem, Israel, April 17, 2019.
Ronen Zvulun / Reuters

President Reuven Rivlin has agreed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s request and given him two more weeks to form a government after the right’s strong showing in the April 9 election.

Under the Basic Law on the Government, the Knesset member asked by the president to form a government has 28 days, but this can be extended by up to two weeks.

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On Saturday, Netanyahu’s Likud party said he would ask for an extension, “as was customary the previous times, and also given the tight schedule that included the intermediate days of Passover, Memorial Day and Independence Day events, and security incidents.”

Only preliminary consultations have been held on forming the next governing coalition and no agreements have been reached with any of the potential partners.

On Sunday, Netanyahu wrote to Rivlin that “the negotiating team and I have had contacts with the parties that recommended me to you, and we’ve made significant progress toward forming a government.”

Yisrael Beiteinu chief Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday he had yet to wrap up anything with Netanyahu and he was not scheduled to meet again with the Likud negotiating team.

During a meeting of the Yisrael Beiteinu legislators, Lieberman added that his demands included “victory” rather than an arrangement for Gaza, and no changes to the bill on drafting ultra-Orthodox Jews into the army; the bill has passed in its first vote.

Lieberman also said he wanted chairmanship of the Knesset Interior and Environment Committee, the cancellation of DNA tests for immigrants, and pensions for all retirees.