To block rivals, Netanyahu said considering claiming he can form gov’t

In a bid to buy more time and prevent one of his rivals from being tasked with forming a government, Prime Minister Netanyahu is considering telling President Reuven Rivlin that he is able to assemble a coalition when his mandate to do so expires at midnight, according to the Walla news site.

Quoting unnamed sources, the report says Netanyahu has been holding talks on the matter despite lacking a coalition agreement with any of his prospective partners, and despite the far-right Religious Zionism party ruling out joining a government backed by the Islamist Ra’am faction.

Netanyahu’s office denies the report.

Under Israel’s Basic Law: The Government, once a candidate is able to form a government and informs the president and Knesset of it, he has a week to finalize his coalition before bringing before the parliament for a vote of confidence. However, the president can ask how Netanyahu those who back him are able to form a government — something they currently have no clear route to doing.

President Reuven Rivlin, right tasks Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with forming a new government, during a press conference at the President’s Residence, in Jerusalem on September 25, 2019. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)
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