Is­rael’s Rivlin gives Ne­tanyahu 14 days to form a gov­ern­ment

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Is­raeli Pres­i­dent Reuven Rivlin on Mon­day granted Prime Min­is­ter Benjamin Ne­tanyahu an ex­ten­sion of 14 days to form a new gov­ern­ment.

“I am giv­ing you an­other 14 days to put to­gether a gov­ern­ment,” Rivlin told Ne­tanyahu in re­marks broad­cast live on Is­rael’s main ra­dio sta­tions af­ter the pre­mier for­mally re­quested an ex­ten­sion.

Af­ter a sur­prise elec­tion victory, Ne­tanyahu was on March 25 tasked by Rivlin with form­ing the next gov­ern­ment and given 28 days to do so, a pe­riod which ex­pires this week.

Ahead of the dead­line, Ne­tanyahu went early Mon­day to Rivlin to for­mally re­quest an ex­ten­sion of up to two weeks.

He now has un­til May 6 to piece to­gether a rul­ing coali­tion.

The prac­tice of ask­ing for an ex­ten­sion is com­mon­place in Is­rael where it is al­most un­heard of for a sin­gle party to win an out­right ma­jor­ity and coali­tions are the norm.

“In most in­stances there is an ex­ten­sion, it’s cer­tainly very com­mon,” said Michael Partem, vice chair­man of the Move­ment for Qual­ity Gov­ern­ment in Is­rael.

“It’s irk­some but it’s not a ma­jor flaw in the sys­tem,” he told AFP.

De­spite nearly four weeks of in­ten­sive ne­go­ti­a­tions, Ne­tanyahu has not yet man­aged to reach agree­ment on the gov­ern­ment he was hop­ing to form, which would com­prise six right-wing and re­li­gious par­ties and con­trol 67 seats in the 120-seat Knes­set, or par­lia­ment.

If he is un­able to form a coali­tion in the next two weeks, Rivlin can as­sign an­other party leader to the task, again with a 28-day dead­line.

If that fails, he can se­lect a third per­son who has just 14 days to com­plete the task. Should that end in fail­ure, Rivlin would call a new elec­tion.

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