Following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s failure to cobble together a ruling coalition by Wednesday’s deadline, President Reuven Rivlin has tasked the opposition, led by Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, with a chance to form an alternative government.
While Netanyahu’s Likud Party was the largest among all Israeli political parties in the March elections, he could not gather enough support to form a 61-seat majority needed to cross the threshold.
Under Israel’s Basic Law — a form of quasi-constitution — Rivlin grants a “mandate” to the leader of the party most likely to be able to form a governing coalition. In this case, Netanyahu was given the first mandate and Lapid, who secured the recommendations of 56 MKs to become Israel’s next prime minister, the second.
Lapid (pictured) vowed to do everything in his power to allow for the rapid formation of a unity government, which would be comprised of disparate factions from the left, the Arab parties and the right.
“After two years of political paralysis, Israeli society is hurting. A unity government isn’t a compromise or a last resort — it’s a goal, it’s what we need,” Lapid said in a statement.
Lapid went on: “We need a government that will reflect the fact that we don’t hate one another. A government in which left, right and center will work together to tackle the economic and security challenges we face. A government that will show that our differences are a source of strength, not weakness.”
The so-called “change” bloc, or the anti-Netanyahu coalition, may also fall short after the 28 days are up, likely prompting a fifth round of elections since 2019.