It has been more than a month since the people of Israel headed to the polls to vote for the second time this year. And for the second time in 2019, the results remain unclear. Things are even less clear today, as The Times of Israel reports, now that PM Benjamin Netanyahu has informed Israeli President Reuven Rivlin that he has been unable to form a ruling coalition, thus giving Netanyahu’s rival, IDF General Benny Gantz, the opportunity to try and form a coalition of his own:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday evening announced he had failed to muster a coalition after almost four weeks of effort, and therefore returned the mandate to form a government to President Reuven Rivlin. Netanyahu’s 28-day deadline for building a government was due to expire on Wednesday.
Rivlin is now expected, probably on Tuesday morning, to charge Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz with the task of trying to muster a coalition that can win a Knesset majority. Blue and White said it was determined to build a “liberal unity government” with Gantz at its helm.
If Gantz also fails to build a majority in the next 28 days, Rivlin can task a third MK with doing so if he deems this possible, and give him or her 21 days to try. If not, Israel would go to a third round of elections inside a year, after April’s and September’s inconclusive votes.
In a video statement, Netanyahu said he had worked “incessantly” over the past 26 days to form a “broad national unity government,” which would include his Likud party’s religious allies and the rival Blue and White party, but had been thwarted by its leader Gantz. “That’s what the people want,” Netanyahu said. “That’s what Israel needs in light of the growing security challenges it faces…”