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  • Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party during his nomination ceremony at the President's residency in Jerusalem.

    Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party during his nomination ceremony at the President's residency in Jerusalem. | Photo: Reuters

Published 23 October 2019
Opinion

The centrist Blue and White party chief will have 28 days to complete the duty to avoid repeating elections for the third time.

Israeli ex-military chief Benny Gantz, 60, has been tasked Wednesday by President Reuven Rivlin to form Israel’s next governing coalition. The centrist Blue and White party chief will have 28 days to complete the duty assigned in a televised ceremony, after incumbent Prime Minister from the far-right Likud party Benjamin Netanyahu failed to do so for the second time. 

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“Everyone expects us to bring the political chaos to an absolute end,” Gantz said, accepting the mandate, adding that he will "establish a liberal unity government and that is what I intend to do."

Rivlin had first asked Netanyahu to form the coalition. However, the latter said on Monday he was giving up, opening the way for Gantz, his strongest rival.

After inconclusive elections in April and September, Gantz’s nomination marked the first time in a decade someone other than Netanyahu is assigned with such a task by the country’s president.

Given the case that Gantz also fails, the president may opt to choose another lawmaker to try to form a new government, although an unlikely scenario, as Netanyahu nor Gantz were able to do so, which would mean Israelies would head to the polls for the third time in the same year.

In the last elections held in September, the Blue and White party received 25.93 percent and obtained 33 of the 120 seats in Parliament, while Netanyahu reached 25.09 percent of votes and 31 seats in the Knesset (Israeli Parliament).

The third political force in these elections was the Arab Joint List, which brings together Balad, Hadash, Taal, and the United Arab List, with 10.62 percent of the votes and 13 seats in Parliament.

The Arab-Israeli formation announced its intention to support Gantz, with which the candidate would gain more support from parliamentarians than Netanyahu. Nevertheless, the leader clarified that this does not suppose a support to his policies.

For its part, the coalition of the Labor Party and the Gesher Party (which obtained 4.8 percent of votes and six places in Parliament), bets its votes in favor of Gantz for Prime Minister of the Israeli regime, fundamentally to prevent Netanyahu coming back to power.

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