Likud leader now has 28 days to assemble new executive
Israeli President Isaac Herzog hands Benjamin Netanyahu the mandate to form a new government following the victory of the former premier's right-wing alliance in this month's election, at the president's residence in Jerusalem on November 13, 2022. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who led the legislative elections on November 1, was officially appointed this Sunday to form a government. “I am giving you the mandate to form a government,” Israeli President Isaac Herzog declared alongside Netanyahu at a press conference in Jerusalem.
< p class="paragraph">From this moment, you have 28 days to assemble the new Executive. If he doesn't succeed, he could give him a fourteen-day extension, after which he would have to decide whether he leaves the task in his hands, entrusts it to someone else, or calls for new elections.
“I give you the mandate to form a government,” Herzog declared alongside Netanyahu at a ceremony in Jerusalem on Sunday. “I will be the prime minister of all, of those who voted for us and of the others. It is my responsibility,” said Netanyahu, 73.
In June 2021, it was the outgoing prime minister, the centrist Yair Lapid, who ousted Netanyahu from power, with a widely disparate coalition of parties from the right, centre, left and Arab, coming together to end the prime minister's reign. longest in Israeli history, in office from 1996 to 1999 and from 2009 to 2021.
Netanyahu is indicted for corruption in a series of cases and his trial is ongoing. Following his failure in the March 2021 legislative elections, Netanyahu, known as “Bibi” and relegated to opposition leader, vowed to “overthrow the government as soon as the first opportunity presents itself”.
Following the announcement of the results of the November 1 election, the fifth in three and a half years, Netanyahu entered into discussions with his allies to distribute the ministerial portfolios.
The Likud won 32 seats in the Knesset (Israeli Parliament), its ultra-Orthodox allies 18 and the Religious Zionism alliance 14, a record for the extreme right. This combination suggests that this government could be the most to the right in the country's history.
Among the ultra-Orthodox, the head of the Sephardic Shass party, Arieh Dery, protected by his 11 seats, would like Finance or the Interior, according to the press. Dery was found guilty of fraud in 2021 and previously jailed for corruption.
Religious Zionism wants Defense Ministry for its boss, Betzalel Smotrich, while number two, Itamar Ben Gvir, would like the Homeland Security portfolio.
According to the Israeli press, President Herzog, whose role is symbolic, would have tried to convince Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Netanyahu's rivals, to form a union government with him to prevent controversial figures such as the entry into the executive Ben Gvir.
The president denied this information.
But during his interview with this far-right leader on Thursday, Herzog told him He said he received “questions from Israeli citizens and world leaders (…) about sensitive human rights issues.”
“There is a certain image of you and your party which seems, and I tell you this in all honesty, worrying in many ways,” Herzog told MP Ben Gvir, known for his anti-Arab rants.
Following the latest elections in Israel, several Western countries, including the United States, called for “tolerance” and respect for “minority groups.”