Netanyahu gets official nod to form next Israeli government

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the first Cabinet meeting of the new government at the Chagall Hall in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament in Jerusalem, Israel, Sunday, May 24, 2020.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu got a new lease on his political life on Tuesday, receiving a mandate from Israel’s president to form a new government after an inconclusive election.

Israel’s longest-serving leader, in power consecutively since 2009, now faces the tough task of breaking an unprecedented political stalemate and enlisting enough allies for a governing coalition.

Under law, Netanyahu will have 28 days to do so, with the possibility of a two-week extension before President Reuven Rivlin picks another candidate or asks parliament to choose one.

Israel’s election on March 23, its fourth in two years, ended with neither a Netanyahu-led right-wing and religious bloc nor a prospective alliance of his opponents winning a parliamentary majority.

But in consultations Rivlin held with political parties on Monday on granting the coalition-building mandate, Netanyahu received more endorsements than his challengers, leading to the president’s televised announcement giving him the nod.

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