Now the leader of the Israeli opposition, 57-year-old writer and playwright Yair Lapid, has been tasked with forming a government. Thus, for the first time in 12 years, Netanyahu’s rule may be interrupted. The premier’s right-wing Likud party won a majority in the March elections and was given 28 days to form a majority coalition government. But that deadline expired on Tuesday, and Reuven Rivlin could legally choose another candidate. The country’s president spent the entire Wednesday consulting with politicians elected to the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. And in the evening he announced that he had decided to entrust the formation of the cabinet to Lapid, a former TV presenter and finance minister, whose Yesh Atid party came in second in the last elections, although he admitted that he too could fail. “What is clear is that Yair Lapid is able to form a government that enjoys the confidence of the Knesset, despite many difficulties,” said Rivlin, quoted by the Guardian.
Lapid, who is popular with secular middle-class Israelis, welcomed the move. He added that he would contact parliamentarians across the Israeli political spectrum in hopes of forming a coalition. “A government of unity is not a compromise or a last resort – this is the goal, this is what we need,” Lapid said. Inside Israel, Lapid is considered a centrist. He supports peace talks with the Palestinians, although he calls himself a “security hawk.” Whoever leads the next government is expected to remain tough on the ongoing occupation of the Palestinians.
One of the potential candidates for the post of prime minister is also the former settler leader and ex-defense minister, 49-year-old Naftali Bennett. Netanyahu said he proposed a deal that would put Bennett as prime minister for a year and then return power to him, but it was quickly turned down. According to experts, the same “rotation” between Bennett and Lapid is more likely.
With 28 days to form a government or the risk of a fifth election, Lapid will have to face tough negotiations, as experts predict that 71-year-old Netanyahu will try to block his path to high office, as he successfully did with current Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz. For the past four weeks, Netanyahu has hoped to convince both allies and opponents of the coalition with his party in the government, but most Knesset members have not compromised. In support of the coalition, 51 out of 120 deputies spoke out instead of 61 members of the Knesset required by the rules. According to observers, the Netanyahu corruption case turned out to be a time bomb. Although he denies the accusations, some politicians have expressed their reluctance to work under the leadership of the under investigation prime minister.
Source: Российская Газета by rg.ru.
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