After receiving the official Israeli election results yesterday, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin called for “unusual collaborations” to resolve the political deadlock.
The Central Elections Committee (CEC) presented President Rivlin with the verified results at his residence in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
The President said he hoped Knesset members would “hear the nation’s demand for unusual collaborations, inter-community cooperation and professional and dedicated work for the benefit of all Israeli citizens”.
The final results left Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud as the largest party with 30 seats but his traditional right-wing and religious coalition partners managed a combined 52 seats – short of the 61 required for a majority. Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid currently has the endorsement of 37 Knesset Members including Yisrael Beiteinu (7 seats), Labor (7 seats) and Meretz (6 seats) and his own party’s 17 seats. Lapid may receive the recommendation of 5 members of the Joint List. The Joint List won six seats in the election, but the Balad party representative has refused to make a recommendation.
Benny Gantz, who leads the Blue and White party which won 8 seats, has said he will support Lapid if he could gain a 61-strong majority.
Neither the right-wing Yamina party led by Naftali Bennett (7 seats), or the Islamist Ra’am party led by Mansour Abbas (4 seats), have declared for either bloc. A number of right-wing politicians have already spoken about their unpreparedness to enter a coalition with Ra’am for their perceived anti-Zionist stance and Ra’am have expressed the same opposition to serving alongside hard-right politicians.
The leader of New Hope (6 seats), Gideon Sa’ar, who has said he will not join a coalition led by Netanyahu, has urged Lapid to “step aside”, seemingly in support of a potential rotation deal with Yamina’s Naftali Bennett serving first and Lapid second.
Rivlin will meet with the leaders of all elected parties on Monday 5th April in order to receive their recommendation of a candidate for Prime Minister.
The President will then decide which candidate is most likely to form the next government, and is expected to announce his decision on Wednesday 7th April. If the chosen candidate is unable to form a coalition government in 42 days, another candidate is selected to attempt to do so. If unsuccessful, Israel will head into a fifth election later this year.