The Israeli President announced the assignment of Benjamin Netanyahu to form a new government, after the recent elections that did not end with a clear victory for anyone.
Netanyahu, the caretaker prime minister, received the largest number of Knesset representatives’ recommendations to form the government.
In elections last month, neither Netanyahu nor the opposition parties won enough votes to undertake government formation.
This was the fourth elections to be held in Israel in two years.
Netanyahu’s mandate to form the government comes at a time when he is under trial on charges of forgery, bribery and breach of trust. He had rejected the charges against him, claiming that they were politically motivated.
The Likud party leader has 28 days to try to get enough parliamentary support to form a governing coalition, and he can request an extension for another two weeks. If he fails, the task of forming the government will pass to another candidate.
When announcing Netanyahu’s appointment, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said that he was doing this despite not being convinced that any of the candidates had “a realistic opportunity to form a government that would gain the confidence of the Knesset.”
Netanyahu needs the support of the nationalist right-wing “right” party led by a political rival, as well as the “United Arab List” in order to obtain a sufficient parliamentary majority to form a government. Neither side has announced its willingness to support Netanyahu.
Netanyahu is the longest-serving leader in Israel, having led five governments since 1996. The last of them collapsed in December, which led to new elections.