A month after Israel’s second general election in a year, the incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Monday evening that he is unable to form a coalition.
Consequently, President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday tasked opposition leader Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s main rival to form a governing coalition.
The leader of the centrist Blue and White party will have 28 days to form a government, although his chances of success are also slim. This may lead Israel into further political uncertainty, raising the probability for a third election within this year.
In a video statement released by Netanyahu, the Prime Minister said he had tried to create a unity government together with Gantz’s Blue and White party.
“I made every effort to bring Gantz to the government, but he repeatedly declined,” said Netanyahu.
Netanyahu’s failure is the second one this year. After the first general election in April, he failed in organising a government which led Israel to another election.
In addition to his political woe, Netanyahu is under the threat of corruption charges which will be judged in the coming weeks.
Gantz’s party has said it refuses to sit in a government with a party led by a politician under such suspicions.
“There will be many attempts now to form a coalition, and many of them will be quiet and behind the scenes,” said Yossi Schein, a professor of the Political Science Department at Tel Aviv University, adding “this is a time of great tension.”
Netanyahu is Israel’s longest-serving prime minister. His failure to form a government for the second time in a row makes Gantz the first-ever Israeli politician after Netanyahu to try to form a government in the last decade.
As a former military chief of staff, Gantz seems to be less experienced than Netanyahu with regard to politics.
“It is time for action. Blue and White party is determined to form a liberal unity government led by Benny Gantz,” read a statement on the Twitter account of the party.
Gantz has 28 days to form a government and the odds are stacked against him. Gaining support of at least 61 parliament members out of the total 120 is essential to form a government. -Xinhua