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Mansour Abbas: Ra’am, Yamina will decide at ’90th minute’ who will form government

Ra’am chief Mansour Abbas says any government that is formed will have to rely on the support of his Islamist party, and that he is in talks with all sides.

Abbas notes to Channel 12 news that he has spoken with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Yamina chief Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid — all whom he says “want to form a government.” He says he’ll back whoever is able to.

Besides the far-right Religious Zionism party, the pro-Netanyahu party which has declared it will not be part of any government that relies on Ra’am, Abbas says all parties are negotiating with his.

He also says Ra’am and Yamina will decide at the “90th minute” if and what government will be formed. He explains this is not an agreement but a reflection of reality, noting both are potential kingmakers. He adds, though, that they “need to be on the same side.”

Netanyahu’s 28-day presidential mandate to form a government expires on Tuesday night. He may seek a 14-day extension from President Reuven Rivlin, but would likely have to convince the president he has a realistic chance of mustering a majority in the additional time. Otherwise Rivlin can charge another candidate — likely Lapid or Bennett — with building a coalition, or throw the mandate back to the Knesset. Parliament would then have 21 days to agree on a prime minister, or Israel would head to a fifth election.

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