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Meretz urges Rivlin: Give Lapid stab at forming government if Netanyahu fails

The leader of the left-wing Meretz party, Nitzan Horowitz, urges President Reuven Rivlin to task Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid with forming a government if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fails by an early May deadline.

He makes the call at a Meretz faction meeting in the Knesset.

If Netanyahu does not succeed by May 4 and Rivlin does not grant him an extension, the president can either task a second person with the attempt (for another period of 28 days and a possible additional 14), or send the mandate to the Knesset, giving the legislature 21 days to agree on a candidate supported by 61 MKs.

Meretz head Nitzan Horowitz, center, at a press conference in Tel Aviv on March 23, 2021. (Flash90)

If the president appoints a second person and that person also fails to assemble a coalition, the mandate automatically goes to the Knesset for the 21-day period. During that time, any MK is eligible to attempt to form a government.

Rivlin has indicated that he may not give the mandate to a second candidate if Netanyahu fails, but rather immediately send it back to the Knesset. He also appears unlikely to grant an extension to Netanyahu before doing so.

Neither Netanyahu nor Lapid appear to have a clear path to a majority government.

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