In Brief: Netanyahu’s government formation mandate expires

Benjamin Netanyahu. Credit: Crown Copyright, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Benjamin Netanyahu’s mandate to form a coalition government following Israel’s March general election expired on Tuesday night.

After 28 days of negotiations, Netanyahu announced that he had failed to persuade enough other parties to join a government led by his Likud party.

Netanyahu’s efforts ultimately failed when Bezalel Smotrich, leader of the far-right Religious Zionism party, refused to join a coalition reliant on support from the Islamist Ra’am party.

President Reuven Rivlin will now begin consultations on who next to task with forming a government.
It is widely expected that the president will turn to Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid, who has been in negotiations with Yamina’s Naftali Bennett regarding a potential rotation agreement.

An effort by Bennett to secure the mandate for himself – despite having only seven seats to Lapid’s 17 – will likely fail without the support of Netanyahu’s Likud.

Bennett has attempted to position himself as a potential partner for both pro- and anti-Netanyahu blocs.
Should Lapid be granted the mandate, the anti-Netanyahu bloc will face a difficult task to bring together a workable government coalition, including parties on the right, centre and centre-left.