It’s official. Barring an unexpected breakdown in political negotiations to form a new governing coalition, Benjamin Netanyahu will once again be prime minister of Israel. Tuesday was day two of the Israeli political parties informing President Reuven Rivlin of their recommendations for the next prime minister of Israel, and a majority of legislators in the Israeli Knesset (parliament) nominated Netanyahu.
Appropriately, it was the politically right-leaning United Right party whose support pushed Netanyahu past the 60 legislator threshold to form a majority ruling group in the 120-member Knesset. Rivlin, in comments published in an Israeli press release, highlighted this honor when United Right recommended Netanyahu.
“With your recommendation, you have formed a majority of the people in favor of the candidate,” said Rivlin. “Your recommendation is of great significance to the discussions we are holding here.”
United Right may have been the clinching party for Netanyahu, but they weren’t the last one to give their support, as six different parties in total backed the current premier for his fifth term as Israel’s leader. In the end, Netanyahu won the support of 65 Knesset members—including 36 for his own Likud party.
The primary opposition party, the Blue and White party led by former IDF chief Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, won the second-most seats in the new Knesset, but were only supported by two other smaller parties for a total of 45 seats. The Israeli press release on the recommendations for prime minister noted that 10 seats—all controlled by Arab parties—chose to not recommend anyone as prime minister. Traditionally, the Arab parties have elected not to join a governing coalition in Israel.
On Wednesday, Rivlin is set to receive the final official election results and will appoint a candidate to form the new government, which is expected to be Netanyahu.
Even before the final party recommendations were made, Netanyahu had already received congratulations from multiple leaders around the world. On Monday, it was German Chancellor Angela Merkel who called Netanyahu.
A press release from Netanyahu’s office said Merkel congratulated him on his victory and invited him to meet with her in Berlin once the new Israeli government is formed.
Netanyahu, in response, “thanked Chancellor Merkel for her warm greetings and commended relations between the two countries.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, April 16, 2019)