“I hope and believe that we will be able to create a basic infrastructure that everyone can connect to,” said the leader of the Blue and White party. ”If everyone will know to give up a little bit, everyone will have a lot more room together.”
JERUSALEM—On Monday, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin received Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement that he is returning the mandate to form the government to the president because he was unable to do.
In accordance with the provisions of Basic Law: The Government (2001), the Director General of Beit HaNasi, Harel Tubi, will speak to all Knesset factions to inform them that the president intends to transfer the mandate for forming the government, as soon as possible, to the chairman of Kachol Lavan (Blue and White) party, Benny Gantz. The latter will have 28 days to form a government under the law.
Rivlin is now expected, probably on Tuesday, to charge Gantz with the task of trying to muster a coalition that can win a Knesset majority of at least 61 MKs.
“I hope and believe that we will be able to create a basic infrastructure that everyone can connect to,” Gantz said. “If everyone will know to give up a little bit, everyone will have a lot more room together.”
He is the first person in more than a decade other than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be tasked with the challenge to form a government.
On Monday, the Blue and White party issued a statement saying that “the time for spin is over” and that the party was “determined to form the liberal unity government, headed by Gantz, that the nation elected a month ago.”
“The feeling is terrific,” a cheerful Gantz told reporters in his car, as he left his home in Rosh Ha’ayin. “We finished a morning workout and will now go for the day’s work. Everything is okay. We are always optimistic; it is a way of life.”
Netanyahu was initially tasked by President Rivlin with trying to form a government based on its right-wing and ultra-Orthodox bloc of 55 MKs after September 17’s inconclusive elections.
Gantz heads a bloc of 54 MKs from the center, left and Arab parties (Blue and White: 33; Labor-Gesher: 6; Democratic Camp 5; and 10 out of 13 MKs from the mainly Arab Joint List). But the 10 Arab MKs in that group would not join a Gantz-led coalition. Three other MKs from the Joint List did not back either candidate.
Avigdor Lieberman, head of Beitenu (8 seats), is not in either bloc and has called for a secular unity government comprising Likud, Blue and White and his own party. But Netanyahu has refused to abandon his ultra-Orthodox partners Shas and United Torah Judaism. And Gantz has hitherto refused to partner Likud so long as Netanyahu is facing possible indictment in three corruption cases.
In a video statement Monday, Netanyahu said he had worked “incessantly” over the past 26 days to form a “broad national unity government,” which would include his Likud party’s religious allies and Blue and White, but had been thwarted by Gantz.
“I made every effort to bring Benny Gantz to the negotiating table. Every effort to establish a broad national unity government, every effort to prevent another election,” he said. “Unfortunately, time after time, he declined. He simply refused.”
As a reminder, here are the results of the September elections : (party, leader, percentage, number of seats, difference)
|Blue and White||Benny Gantz||25.95%||33||-2|
|Joint List||Ayman Odeh||10.60%||13||+3|
|Yisrael Beiteinu||Avigdor Lieberman||6.99%||8||+3|
|Democratic Union||Nitzan Horowitz||4.34%||5||+1|