President Shimon Peres will begin intensive talks with party heads to determine who will form the new government, as soon as he returns from a jaunt to Switzerland.
Two days after Israel chose who will sit in the 19th Knesset, Peres is set to fly to the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday to push Israel’s economic interests.
As president, Peres is tasked with appointing a party head to form the next coalition government, which in this case will almost certainly be current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
But by law, Peres must wait until next Wednesday, when he is expected to receive the certified election results from Supreme Court Judge Elyakim Rubinstein, who heads the Central Elections Committee.
Peres will represent Israel at Davos, an annual conference of world leaders and mover and shakers focused on the economy.
Peres will lead a special discussion of issues in the Middle East on Thursday, and hold “intensive” discussions with the heads of a number of firms, including Kickstarter, Cisco and Pay-Pal, according to the President’s Residence.
The elder statesmen is mostly remembered at Davos for bearing the brunt of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rage in 2009 over Israel’s Operation Cast Lead offensive against Gaza. At that meeting, on stage at a panel discussion on the Middle East, Erdogan accused Peres of being a killer during a heated exchange, before storming off stage.
Once back in Israel and given the go-ahead to start talks, Peres will quickly hold marathon meetings with party leaders, Channel 2 reported Wednesday.
At the top of the list will likely be Netanyahu, whose Likud-Beytenu list took 31 seats, leaving it neutered but in power, and Yair Lapid, a political greenhorn whose Yesh Atid party took 19 seats, making it a likely coalition linchpin.
Left-wing parties Labor and Meretz have raised the possibility of forming a blocking majority to prevent Netanyahu from forming the coalition.
Meretz chairwoman Zahava Gal-on, called on the center-left bloc to refuse to join a Netanyahu-led government and simply let him try to govern with a 60-party union, anticipating that he fails and calls for new elections within months.