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Israel’s Election Results Certified, President Begins Consultations

Israel’s Central Election Committee verified the results of last week’s national elections and delivered them on Wednesday morning to President Isaac Herzog. Later on Wednesday, Herzog will begin consultations with all of the parties elected to the 25th Knesset, when each party will identify which lawmaker it wants the president to award the mandate to form a government.

Herzog is scheduled to meet on Wednesday with representatives of Opposition Leader Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud, current Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid, Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s National Unity, and the ultra-Orthodox Shas; on Thursday he is scheduled to meet with the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism, Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionist Party (RZP), Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beitenu, controversial lawmaker Itamar Ben Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit, and the predominantly Arab Hadash-Ta’al and Ra’am; and on Friday is scheduled to meet with the left-wing Labor and anti-LGBT Noam The parties that made up the Religious Zionism alliance – RZP, Otzma Yehudit, and Noam – ran together but will make their recommendations and negotiate to enter the government separately.

The lawmaker asked to form the next government will have 28 days to negotiate with potential coalition partners and can request a 14-day extension. If he or she is unable to form a government, it will pass to a new lawmaker. Netanyahu, whose right-wing bloc received at least 64 seats in the 120-seat parliament, is expected to be asked first to form the government.

“I appeal to all elected officials and say: alongside a vibrant and vital political debate, alongside victories and decision-making, alongside a refusal to make concessions on one’s worldview – it is absolutely forbidden under any circumstances to forgo our togetherness. The responsibility for this lies with all of us, but in the political realm it lies first and foremost on every side in our legislature; on all the various factions,” Herzog said in Jerusalem upon receiving the certified election results. He also called for “respectful dialogue” and “cohesion.”

Herzog said he would assign the task of forming a government on Sunday.