Israel’s opposition leader Yair Lapid received a mandate to form a government Wednesday, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s failed effort following the nation’s fourth inconclusive vote in less than two years.
President Reuven Rivlin made the announcement after consultations with party leaders to determine if any lawmaker had a path to clinch a coalition and end an unprecedented era of political gridlock.
Israel’s president taps opposition leader Yair Lapid to form a new government — a step that could lead to the end of the rule of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The decision was announced after Netanyahu failed to cobble together a governing coalition. https://t.co/X1hWOQ8nS1
— The Associated Press (@AP) May 5, 2021
Rivlin noted that Lapid, a centrist former television anchor, might seek a deal in which another lawmaker serves first as prime minister, as part of a compromise rotational coalition.
“I will do everything to ensure that an Israeli unity government will be formed as soon as possible so we can get to work for the people of Israel,” Lapid said in a statement after the announcement.
Lapid had previously confirmed that he offered such an arrangement to Naftali Bennett, leader of the religious-nationalist Yamina party.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel focused his recent election campaign as a head-to-head contest against the centrist opposition leader Yair Lapid, dismissing him as a lightweight. Now Mr. Lapid has a chance to oust him. https://t.co/oCwb3l4j0W
— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) May 5, 2021
Rivlin said he believed Lapid “could form a government that has the confidence of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament), despite there being many difficulties.”
Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party finished first in the March 23 election, helping the divisive premier earn a 28-day mandate to negotiate a government.
— Al-Monitor (@AlMonitor) May 6, 2021
But that mandate expired at 2100 GMT on Tuesday and Netanyahu informed Rivlin he had been unable to secure a majority in the 120-seat parliament.
Netanyahu’s failure further highlighted deep fractures in the Israeli electorate, which spread its support across the political spectrum, including far-right Jewish extremists and a Palestinian-Islamist party.
(The New Arab, PC, Social Media)