President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday received the final results of last Tuesday’s Knesset election, and it’s expected to formally tap Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for a fifth term as premier Wednesday evening.
The Israeli Central Elections Committee presented Rivlin with the final results of the 21st Knesset Election on Wednesday, finalizing the allotment of seats in the incoming Knesset. The right-wing – religious bloc retains a majority, with 65 seats, while the left-wing – Arab bloc received 55 seats.
The Likud and the center-left Blue and White both received 35 seats, followed by the haredi Shas and United Torah Judaism factions with eight a pieces; the Arab Hadash-Ta’al ticket and the Labor party with six each; the Union of Right-Wing Parties and Yisrael Beytenu with five mandates each; and Meretz, Kulanu, and the United Arab List-Balad ticket with four seats apiece.
Following consultations this week with representatives of the eleven parties set to enter the 21st Knesset, Rivlin is slated to task Netanyahu with forming the 35th Israeli government. The president is expected to charge Netanyahu with building the new coalition government at 8 p.m. Wednesday evening.
Once Netanyahu is tasked with forming the next government, he will have 28 days to complete negotiations with potential coalition partners and sign coalition deals securing the support of at least 61 MKs. The president may, however, offer up to 14 days in extensions if needed to complete the negotiations.
If Netanyahu succeeds in establishing a new coalition government as expected, he will be on track to become the longest serving premier in Israeli history, surpassing David Ben-Gurion on July 17th with 13 years and 236 days as prime minister. Netanyahu already has the record for the longest single term as premier, at 10 years and 17 days. His first term, from 1996 to 1999, was just over three years in duration.
A total of 65 MKs backed Netanyahu for Prime Minister during the consultations, while just 45 endorsed the Blue and White party candidate, Benny Gantz.
Six parties, all of which were members of Netanyahu’s previous government, endorsed him for premier, including the Likud, Union of Right-Wing Parties (an alliance of the Jewish Home, National Union, and Otzma Yehudit factions), Yisrael Beytenu, Kulanu, Shas, and United Torah Judaism.
Along with the Blue and White party, only Labor and Meretz endorsed Benny Gantz, while the two Arab factions refused to endorse any candidate.