Netanyahu Set to Form Next Government After Most Parties Recommend Him to President

65 lawmakers tell Rivlin Netanyahu should build governing coalition; Labor party recommends Benny Gantz, criticizing premier's many years in office

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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President Rivlin meeting Labor Party lawmakers in Jerusalem, April 16 2019
President Rivlin meeting Labor Party lawmakers in Jerusalem, April 16 2019Credit: Noam Rivkin Fenton/Flash 90
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

President Reuven Rivlin is expected to task Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with forming the next government after a majority of 65 lawmakers recommended the premier to build the next coalition.

Once Rivlin announces his decision, Netanyahu will have 28 days to form a government. Should an extension be required, the president may approve an additional 14 days.

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 23Credit: Haaretz

Earlier on Tuesday, Rivlin continued his meeting with party heads to hear their recommendations for who should serve as the next prime minister.

Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay told Rivlin that Benny Gantz, head of the Kahol Lavan party, should form the coalition. "It is wrong for people to be in the same post for so many years," Gabbay said, referring to Netanyahu.

Representatives from Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu recommended Netanyahu form the next government, yet warned that it is their duty "to maintain the fragile balance between religion and state these days."

Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu party also recommended Netanyahu, saying that decision reflect the will of the voters.

>> Read more: It all comes down to Lieberman | Opinion ■ Netanyahu may have won, but Israel's political landscape has fundamentally changed | Anshel Pfeffer

The left-wing Meretz party recommended Gantz, "for the sake of democracy, justice and Jewish-Arab partnership." The United Arab List-Balad is expected to recommend no one.

On Monday, Netanyahu's Likud party, with its 36 Knesset seats, as well as ultra-Orthodox parties Shas (which has eight seats), United Torah Judaism (that has seven seats), the Union of Right-Wing Parties (that got five seats) and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu (which received four seats) all said they would recommend Netanyahu.

Senior Kahol Lavan member and former military chief Gabi Ashkenazi recommended Gantz for prime minister on Monday, telling Rivlin that "under the current political circumstances, we won't be able to serve" in a Netanyahu-led government.

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