Netanyahu fails to form coalition government in Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has failed to form a coalition government before the scheduled midnight deadline. After a series of deadlocked elections, Netanyahu, a five-term incumbent, was given a mandate on April 6 by President Reuven Rivlin to try to piece together a coalition of smaller parties to comprise a ruling majority. The deadline of midnight on Wednesday came and passed without Netanyahu cobbling one together, leaving the prime minister’s political future unclear. Rivlin said Beit HaNassi, or the “President’s House,” will “contact the parties in the Knesset regarding the process of forming a government” Wednesday morning.
Benny Gantz, who currently serves as alternate prime minister of Israel, released a video message calling on Naftali Bennett, a member of Israel’s Knesset for the “New Right” party, to support an attempt to form a coalition led by Yair Lapid, leader of the opposition. “In a few hours, Netanyahu’s mandate will expire. Naftali, I turn to you. … You must announce today that you are joining the government of change and support the granting of the mandate to MK Yair Lapid,” Gantz said, according to a Google translation. Netanyahu also made an appeal to Bennett, asking him to “prove” that he’s “still a right-winger,” according to a Google translation.
The prime minister said he had offered a rotating prime ministership to Bennett, with the latter holding the post for the first year, but Bennett rejected that idea, according to the Associated Press. “I never asked Netanyahu to be prime minister. I asked to form a government,” he said. “Unfortunately, he does not have that.” Netanyahu’s prime ministership has been embroiled in scandal since he was indicted on corruption charges in January 2020. He pleaded not guilty to corruption charges that included bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in multiple cases. “Everyone already sees that the witch-hunt against me is crumbling, everyone understands that this is a transparent attempt to overthrow a strong prime minister from the Right,” he said of the charges. If all options fail, the country will face another election this fall, the fifth in just over two years.
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