Israeli President Herzog Tasks Binyamin Netanyahu To Form New Gov’t
Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Sunday formally tasked Likud party chairman and former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with the job of forming a new government, following Israel’s parliamentary election on November 1.
Netanyahu’s Likud party came out on top in that race, winning a plurality – 23.41% – of the votes cast. More significantly, his party and its far-right and ultra-Orthodox allies in the Religious Zionism, United Torah Judaism, and Shas parties together will send 64 parliamentarians to the Knesset, a majority of seats in the 120-member legislature, making it clear that Netanyahu had the greatest ability to form a coalition government.
Netanyahu will have at least 28 days to do so. If he misses the deadline, he could ask for a two-week extension, but it is anticipated that he’ll be able to form the incoming government relatively quickly.
The former and presumptive incoming prime minister related to concerns that his government, expected to be the most right-wing in the country’s 74-year history, would endanger the country’s democratic norms. “This is not the first time such things have been said. It was not true then, and it is not true today,” he asserted.
Herzog referred to questions about the appropriateness of appointing Netanyahu, who is on trial on charges of fraud, bribery, and breach of trust, to lead the new government. The Israeli president said he was “not oblivious to the fact that there are ongoing legal proceedings against Mr. Netanyahu at the Jerusalem District Court, and I do not trivialize this at all.” However, he said, “the Supreme Court has already expressed itself clearly on the matter of pending indictments against a member of Knesset nominated for the role of forming a government.”