Israeli president starts consultations on prime minister nomination

Israeli president starts consultations on prime minister nomination

Israel’s president Reuven Rivlin began post-election consultations today with political parties that will lead to his appointment of a candidate to form a government.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s nomination seemed virtually ensured after his right-wing Likud won the largest number of parliamentary seats in Tuesday’s ballot, and his closest rival, Benny Gantz of the centrist Blue and White party, conceded defeat.

Rivlin said he would announce his choice on April 17 after meeting with all of the parties that captured seats in the 120-member Knesset.

Under Israeli law, after consultations with the parties the president taps a legislator whom he believes has the best chance of forming a government, delegating 28 days, with a two-week extension if necessary, to complete the task, Reuters reported.

Netanyahu said he intends to build a coalition with five far-right, right-wing and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties that would give a Likud-led government 65 seats, four more than the outgoing administration he heads.

Four of those parties have already said they would back Netanyahu, bringing his tally of seats to 60.

Former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman of the ultranationalist Yisrael Beitenu party, which won five seats and meets Rivlin on April 16, has not formally declared he would join a Likud-led coalition.

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