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Netanyahu’s last-ditch efforts

Sep 29,2019 - Last updated at Sep 29,2019

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin finally and with greatest reluctance chose incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday to form the next government after failing to convince Benny Gantz, leader of the centrist Blue and White Party, and Netanyahu, leader of the rightist Likud Party, to form a national unity government. 

Gantz’s party won 33 Knesset seats while Netayanhu’s won 32 seats. Normally, Gantz should be given the first opportunity to form the next government. 

Yet, the complexity of Israeli politics and the continued support of ultra-Orthodox and other allies to the Likud leader gave Netanyahu an edge to assemble the new government.

Netanyahu has 28 days to cement together enough support to form the next government. As is, Netanyahu and his immediate supporters can muster 55 seats, but need 61 seats out of the 120 Knesset seats to secure the majority.

This is not going to be easy unless Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of the secular rightist party, with eight seats in the Knesset, sides with him, but at what price and on what conditions remain to be seen. 

Most observers bet that Netanyahu will not succeed this time after losing a chance to form a majority government following last April’s elections. There is every hope that Netanyahu’s bid for another term to form the next Israeli government will once again fail. 

The stakes are high as the Israeli prime minister carries the image of the enemy to peace. Netanyahu’s main concern is to escape prosecution over corruption charges levied against him by remaining the prime minister. 

For how long this game will continue, no one really knows, but one thing is certain: It will end, and if not now, then in the near future.

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