Israeli President Reuven Rivlin (right) received Yair leader Atid Yair Lapid at the presidential residence on May 5 | Photo: Communication from the Government of Israel / Haim Zach
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin gave centrist politician Yair Lapid a chance to form a government after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed 15 years ago.
However, the outcome is uncertain. Lapid faces the difficult task of, over the next four weeks, adapting a government from a large, disorganized group of rivals across the political spectrum. Some are united only in their desire to replace Netanyahu, tried for corruption. He denies any wrongdoing.
Netanyahu faced similar problems after the national elections in March. He hoped to win back the deserters or persuade right-wing partners to form a government with the backing of an Islamic party before his term expires at midnight on Tuesday 4.
If Lapid also fails, President Reuven Rivlin will transfer responsibility for selecting a new prime minister to the Israeli parliament before a new election is called, which would be the country’s fifth since 2019.
Political analysts have said Lapid’s prospects may have been bolstered by Netanyahu’s failure to win back some of his former supporters. On Wednesday, Lapid was already talking about his future government as a broad-based national. The groups he plans to conquer span the spectrum of right-wing, left-wing, religious, secular and, potentially, Arab parties, the latter of which are likely needed to support a minority administration in parliament.
Lapid’s main partner must be right-wing politician Naftali Bennett and his Yamina party. The two have been in negotiations and are expected to replace the post of prime minister, with Bennett taking the post first, if they come to an agreement. Bennett controls seven Knesset seats in parliament compared to Lapid’s 17, but right-wing Israeli Jews who previously supported Netanyahu’s governments may see him as a more acceptable candidate for prime minister. Bennett has vowed to avoid a fifth election, but faces criticism within his party for partnering with Lapid.
“There are two options: go to the fifth, sixth or seventh elections, which will simply destroy the country, or establish a broad emergency government, which, while defying, will pull the wheel out of the mud,” Bennett said Wednesday.
After failing to form a government on Tuesday night, Netanyahu criticized Bennett for rescinding his promise to only support a right-wing government.
Until recent weeks, Netanyahu has always seemed the most likely candidate to form a government after the recent succession of elections, for his way of staying in power on the brink of defeat. But it lacks options, as more lawmakers reject the idea of working with a prime minister on charge.
“Even though there are huge differences, Netanyahu, being so toxic, really allowed them to swallow bitter pills because those bitter pills aren’t as bitter as him,” science professor Emmanuel Navon said. politicians at Tel Aviv University and former member. from Netanyahu’s Likud Party.
Netanyahu is now expected to focus on preventing deserters from his bloc from moving on to Lapid and Bennett in an attempt to force a fifth election. In the meantime he will remain Prime Minister. Political analysts have said that the longer he stays in office, the better able he will be to seek legislation that protects him against the charges he now faces, which involve allegations of corruption, fraud and breach of trust.