The deadline for Blue and White leader Benny Gantz to form a government has come and gone with no coalition and no unity government despite high hopes that Gantz and current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could hammer out a power-sharing deal.
Gantz and Netanyahu had talked about splitting time as the country’s prime minister, but couldn’t agree on other key points. Neither leader had enough mandates on his own to pass the 61-seat minimum to form a coalition.
After failing to produce a government by the deadline, which was midnight after the Passover holiday, Gantz was told to turn the process back to the Knesset. The 120-member parliament will now have three weeks to recommend another candidate for prime minister.
This is the second time in Israel’s history that the mandate is in the hands of the Knesset. If 61 lawmakers pledge their support to a fellow Knesset member to form a government over the next three weeks, that person get the nod to do so. If not, the country goes to the polls once again — which would be the fourth time after three inconclusive votes in the year.
“I hope that the Knesset members will be able to form a majority in such a way that a government can be formed as soon as possible, to prevent a fourth round of elections,” President Rueben Rivlin said.
“In light of the situation that these third elections have produced as it appears to me at this time, according to which neither of the candidates has the support of a majority of Knesset Members in a way that allows them to secure the confidence of the Knesset and form a government, including in the form of a national unity government, and obligated by the meaning of Basic Law: The Government (2001), to bring about as soon as possible the formation of a government that will enjoy the confidence of the Knesset, I am informing you that I do not see the possibility of forming a government and I entrust the formation of a government to the Knesset, which is entitled to act under Article 10(a) of this law.”
These will most likely lead to a fourth election and if held today, Bibi Netanyahu would finally get the coalition he is looking for, as Israelis have rallied behind his decisive leadership, as he navigates the country through COVID-19. Cynics will say that was Bibi’s plan all along. Trick Benny Gantz into leaving his partners in Blue and White, and the wait things out. Gantz, now has only have the strength he did before Passover, having blown the three-party coalition that created the Blue and White party and is probably now seeing that he miscalculated: