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April 23, 2021 10:05 am

Israel’s Rivlin to Hand Mandate to Lapid if Netanyahu Fails to Form Government: Report

avatar by i24 News

Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid gestures as he delivers a speech following the announcement of exit polls in Israel’s general election at his party headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel March 24, 2021. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

i24 News – Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin will hand the mandate to form the country’s new government to Yesh Atid chief Yair Lapid if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fails to build a coalition, the Jerusalem Post reported on Thursday.

The newspaper cited a source close to Rivlin as saying that the handover is slated for after Netanyahu’s mandate expires on May 4, suggesting that the president would reject a possible extension request from the prime minister.

This time, the president will not meet with all Knesset leaders to discuss their recommendations — but will hear those that change their calls.

The mandate will then head to the lawmaker who received the highest number of recommendations, which in the current disposition looks to be Lapid.

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During the previous round of recommendations, Netanyahu had 52 backers, while Lapid only got 45, which is why the prime minister received the mandate.

However, the March 23 elections have left Netanyahu with no clear pathway to forming a coalition, with his allies recently submitting a bill for direct prime ministerial elections.

Now, Netanyahu is said to be looking to sabotage the coalition talks between Lapid and Naftali Bennett, head of the right-wing Yamina party.

While a Lapid-Bennett rotation could be established as a foundation of a broad government, the accord would see Bennett walk back on some of the key promises made ahead of the March 23 vote.

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