President Reuven Rivlin is likely to press Yesh Atid President Yair Lapid to form the next government if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fails to do so by Tuesday night, but is unlikely to consider offering it to Yamina leader Naftali Bennett, according to Hebrew media reports. .
Netanyahu was given the first opportunity to form a coalition on April 6 after receiving 52 recommendations for Lapid’s 45.
Rivlin, who as Israel’s president is tasked with ordering a lawmaker to form a government, can give Netanyahu an extension after his 28-day term on Tuesday night, hand over the mandate to another lawmaker or send it to the Knesset for a 21
Get The Times of Israel Daily Edition by Email and Never Miss Our Top Stories Free Sign Up
The president prefers the second option, according to reports from the Hebrew media on Monday, and is set to transfer the government-forming mandate to Lapid, as he received second-most recommendations when Rivlin consulted with party representatives after March 23.
Rivlin could also offer Bennett the chance to form a government, but reports citing senior political sources said the president would likely not go that route. Although Netanyahu and a majority of right-wing lawmakers choose to change their recommendations to Rivlin to back Bennett, the president is not expected to transfer the mandate to the Yamina chairman, the reports say.
This is because the move would largely be seen as an attempt to give Netanyahu an extension to form the government after he failed to do so in the past month, senior politicians who have spoken to Rivlin told Channel 12 and Ha’aretz.
In addition, it would annul the initial recommendations of the parties after the election, which are not intended to be changed.
“There is no reason why the mandate should not go to Lapid unless Bennett publicly announces that he has no interest in a ‘changing’ government,” a senior political source told Haaretz, referring to the coalition of anti -Netanyahu parties that tried to oust the Likud leader.
While Bennett insists he prefers to join a right-wing government, he again noted on Monday that Netanyahu lacks the votes to form such a coalition and has said Yamina is negotiating with Lapid to form a unity government as an alternative.
“Rivlin will not lend a hand to a political trick in which Netanyahu will recommend Bennett, only to preserve the chances of a sitting prime minister sending Israel back to the ballot box. If the scenario where Netanyahu forms a right-wing government were possible, one would have already been formed, ”the source added.
The official told Haaretz that it was also unlikely that Rivlin would send the case to the Knesset to decide, as this would likely sentence Israel to a fifth election in just under two years.
If the mandate goes to the Knesset, an absolute majority of at least 61 of the 120 MKs would be needed to vote for a particular legislature to form the next government, and “there is no chance that (the majority- Arab “The Joint List and Ra’am parties sign Bennett’s appointments,” the source said.
With less than two days left for him to form a coalition, Netanyahu said Monday he was ready to step down as prime minister and let Bennett first serve as prime minister in a rotation deal – a proposal immediately rejected by Bennett, who said in response , that Netanyahu simply does not have the votes.
Meanwhile, opposition leader Lapid said he expected Rivlin to order him to form a government “if nothing surprising happens” by Tuesday night, but that he would be willing to let Bennett act first as prime minister in any rotation agreement between them. .
Meanwhile, Channel 13 reported Monday night that Lapid has offered Bennett to become prime minister first in their power-sharing agreement for a period of 2 years and three months, after which Bennett will be appointed secretary of state and Lapid will take over as prime minister.
Lapid also promises a senior portfolio for Yamina’s Ayelet Shaked (either domestic or public security) and two or three additional portfolios for members of the seven-MK right-wing party if a government is formed.
Lapid is also willing to give Bennett’s right-wing bloc within a potential consensus-wide coalition, the network says.
Netanyahu, on the other hand, has offered Bennett to become prime minister first in a rotation deal, but only for a year; a senior portfolio for Shaked; and for Yamina to eventually be merged with Likud in a future election campaign.
Although Yamina only won seven seats in the March election, Bennett has become a potential kingmaker and even king.
The last election, the fourth since April 2019, ended in a lattice lock, where Netanyahu’s right-wing religious bloc again lacked a ruling majority, partly because three right-wing parties ran with the declared goal of replacing him.