Tel Aviv, 5 May 2021 (TPS/MIA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned the mandate to form a government to President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday night after 28 days of failed negotiations.
Shortly before midnight, Netanyahu informed Beit HaNasi that he was unable to form a government and so returned the mandate to the president.
Netanyahu’s Likud party blamed Member of Knesset (MK) Naftali Bennett’s “refusal to commit to a right-wing government, which would certainly have led to the formation of a government with the addition of other Knesset members.”
Rivlin will now contact the parties represented in the Knesset regarding the continuation of the process of forming a government.
He is expected to task MK Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party, the largest in the opposition, with forming a government. Rivlin will announce his decision by the end of the week.
Lapid’s chances of forming a viable government are slim. The left-center bloc is divided, the Arab parties are split, while four parties are still combating each other on the right, an acrimonious political situation in an already toxic environment in Israel.
Rivlin may also inform the Speaker of the Knesset that he does not see a possibility of forming a government, and then the Knesset will vote to dissolve itself.
With yet another political deadlock, the 24th Knesset will dissolve before it has a chance to act, and Israel may be facing its fifth round of elections in a bit more than two years.
A possible time for the fifth round of elections is the beginning of October, after the Jewish New Year holidays.