Israel: Rivlin tasks Netanyahu with forming new government

PM has 52 of 120 seats in Knesset, majority to 61

06 April, 13:34

    (ANSAmed) - TEL AVIV, 06 APR - Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday tasked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with forming a new government.

    Based on information provided by the parties, Netanyahu has 52 seats in the Knesset while opposition leader Yair Lapid has 45.

    Netanyahu will have 28 days to reach a 61-seat majority out of the 120 seats in the Knesset, with the possibility of a two-week extension.

    Rivlin said it "wasn't an easy decision on an ethical or moral level", explaining his choice to give the mandate of forming a new government to Netanyahu, who is currently on trial in Jerusalem for corruption, fraud and abuse of power.

    But, he added, "according to the Supreme Court and the law, an indicted prime minister can continue to serve in the position".

    The president said this is why he had to choose based on directions from the parties that gave Netanyahu more seats than the others and that has more of a chance.

    Rivlin highlighted that "the president of Israel is not a substitute for the legislator or judicial power". "It is the job of the Knesset to decide on the important and ethical question of the suitability of an indicted candidate to serve as prime minister," he said. "I fear for my country, but I have to do what is asked of me as president, based on the law and Supreme Court decisions and to carry out the will of the sovereign people of Israel," Rivlin added.

    The president then said he is pessimistic regarding the possibility of achieving the formation of a new government.

    "The results of consultations lead me to believe that no candidate has a real chance to form a government that has the confidence of the Knesset," Rivlin said. (ANSAmed).

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