Due to previous governmental deadlocks and fears of the coronavirus, President Reuven Rivlin is expediting the consultations with political party representatives to get their recommendations regarding who should get the first shot at forming a government, after Israel’s third elections in a year took place last week.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party received the most votes in the past election, but his right-wing coalition stands at 58 mandates — three shy of a 61-seat majority, which would make Netanyahu the clear choice to run the next government.
Now all the parties are jockeying to form coalitions that exceed 61mandates. Each party will recommend to Rivlin one leader they believe can form a government.
Unlike past elections, however, these consultations will begin — and end — on Sunday. The meetings will be restricted to one day due to fears of spreading the coronavirus.
The country is facing “a double crisis — political and health,” said President’s Residence chief of staff Harel Tubi.
“These circumstances require the consultations to be held swiftly and with limits on the number of participants and administration,” Tubi said in a statement.
“In order to strengthen public confidence and to promote the value of transparency in Israeli democracy, the consultations of party representatives with the president will again be broadcast live for Israelis,” Tubi wrote.
Likud rival Blue and White, led by Benny Gantz, and the Yisrael Beytenu party — both secular parties — will speak with the Joint List alliance of Arab parties and the left-wing party alliance in order to attempt to form their own minority coalition. The main (if not only) common goal that these divergent parties have is a desire to oust Netanyahu.