The Islamist Ra’am party, seen as a potential kingmaker in the wake of the March 23 election, does not recommend either Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid for prime minister.
But while abstaining, leader Mansour Abbas says that he is open to negotiations with any candidate who is ultimately tasked with forming a government.
“We tried to prevent the fourth elections and we will try to prevent the fifth elections,” he says, underlining that he supports the establishment of a government.
Ra’am, which has four seats, has previously expressed a desire to work together with either Netanyahu or his rivals — whichever offered a better deal benefiting Arab Israelis. Right-wing politicians in both blocs have ruled out basing a coalition on the party’s support, due to what they say is an anti-Zionist stance; others have accused Ra’am of supporting terrorists.
With Ra’am’s abstention, the consultations with the president end.
Netanyahu has received 52 recommendations, Lapid picked up 45, and Yamina leader Naftali Bennett has the backing of his seven party members.