With 7 more endorsements than Lapid, Netanyahu well-placed for first try at forming coalition

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears well-placed to be granted the first opportunity to try form a government, despite failing to gather 61 recommendations.

The Likud leader picked up 52 nominations during Monday’s consultations with President Reuven Rivlin, seven more than his main rival Yair Lapid, while Naftali Bennett endorsed himself as prime minister with the backing of his seven-member party. The New Hope, Joint List and Ra’am parties, accounting for 16 of the 120 votes, abstained.

Rivlin will announce the candidate by Wednesday. Throughout the day, the president has hinted that “ethical considerations” could see him give the job to someone other than Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, though he also expressed concerns that the presidency could be undermined if his steps are viewed as political intervention.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, September 25, 2019, when Rivlin tapped Netanyahu to form the next Israeli government. (Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)