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Israel president to announce pick to form a new coalition government

The chosen candidate will have 28 to form a government [Getty]

Date of publication: 6 April, 2021

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Israel President Reuven Rivlin will announce his choice for a leader to form a new government, with Netanyahu leading the pack for endorsements.
Israel President Reuven Rivlin is set to announce a candidate to form a new Israeli government after consolations with all political parties, according to reports by Reuters

Following the consultations on Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emerged as the favourite, securing the most endorsements. 

The final decision will come down to Rivlin, who has said that "ethical considerations" will form his choice, in a nod to Netanyahu who is currently on trial for corruption charges

The country’s elections on 23 March, the fourth in two years, was again inconclusive with no party or bloc securing enough seats to secure a majority. 

At a meeting with Rivlin, representatives of all the parties that secured seats cast their votes for who they wanted to form a government. 

Netanyahu led the pack with 52 of the 120 recommendations on offer, while his centrist opponent and the former finance minister Yair Lapid secured 45 endorsements. Former Defence Minister Naftali Bennett trailed the pack with seven endorsements.

Three parties, representing 16 seats in the Knesset chose to abstain from casting their vote for any candidate.

Netanyahu was hoping that support from Bennett and Gideon Saar, who leads the right-wing New Horizon party, would push him to victory.

Bennett has so far made no commitment, while Saar has been vocal in his opposition to such a union, citing the current prime minister’s corruption trial, which began in Monday.

Netanyahu has denied all the charges against him and branded the trial as "an attempted coup" that seeks to remove a "strong, right-wing prime minister".

According to reports by Reuters, opposition leader Lapid has proposed a coalition deal with Bennett. The deal would see Bennett serve in the office of prime minister first, before Lapid takes over the role.

Read more: How Netanyahu brought Israel's biggest racists seats - and legitimacy - in parliament

"The Israeli public needs to see that its leaders can work together," Lapid said in a televised speech.

Bennett has yet to comment on the deal, but it has been speculated that if such an arrangement were to take place, the right-wing party led by Saar could also follow and join Lapid.

Once Rivlin has made his decision, the chosen leader will have 28 days to form a coalition with the option of requesting a two-week extension.

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