Rivlin to Meet Lapid, Bennett as He Begins Talks on New Mandate to Form Gov’t

MKs Naftali Bennett (L.) and Yair Lapid. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

President Reuven Rivlin is set to meet with Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett on Wednesday morning as he begins consultations on who to task next with forming a new government.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s deadline for forming a government expired on midnight.

Rivlin can now assign the coalition-building task to another MK, or give it to the Knesset. It is widely expected that he will task it to Lapid, whose Yesh Atid party placed second to Netanyahu’s Likud in the March election, with 17 seats. Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope party already announced they will recommend Lapid as their candidate to form a new government.

The President said party leaders must inform him of their recommended candidate to be tasked with forming a government by 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

“According to section 9 of the Basic Law: The Government, the President is considering summoning before him the MKs, and candidates for the position of forming government, as well as accepting the position of all the factions [on who should be the candidate], as long as they are interested,” the President’s Office said in a statement.

Harel Tuby, who heads the President’s Office, asked the heads of the parties to present their recommendations to Rivlin in writing. He added that in addition to Bennett and Lapid, “other meetings will be scheduled at the request of faction members and at the President’s discretion.”

The right-wing bloc is not expected to recommend Bennett due to the Yamina leader’s refusal to commit to not forming a government with the anti-Netanyahu bloc, in the event the mandate is transferred to him.

“Due to Bennett’s refusal to commit to a right-wing government, which would certainly have led to the formation of a government, the Prime Minister returned the mandate back to the President,” the Likud said in a statement.

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