Netanyahu Tapped By Israel's President To Form Government After Deadlocked Election

It looks like he's held on after last week's deadlocked election, prior rumors of his political death notwithstanding. Longtime Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been tapped by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday to form a new government.

The longest serving prime minister in Israel's history has now been given 42 days to form the country's next government; and if he fails, the opportunity will fall to his rival - Blue and White Party centrist Benny Ganz. Rivlin said that Israel doesn’t want more elections, something which could theoretically happen for a third time in only a year should neither Netanyahu nor Ganz be successful. 

Via The Times of Israel: President Reuven Rivlin meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on September 23, 2019.

Facing three different allegations of corruption, Netanyahu is fighting for more than just his political future  but serious potential criminal charges which can go away only if he remains in the prime minister's seat.

The president tapped the Likud leader after talks with Gantz to form a broad unity government broke down in the wake of the inconclusive election, and after both failed to agree on a power-sharing pact.

Netanyahu will have to cobble together 61 seats in order to form a majority government, even as he faces a pretrial hearing next week related to the attorney general's bribery and fraud allegations. 

The WSJ summarizes the newly published final results to last week's elections as follows:

Israel’s Central Elections Committee on Wednesday released the final results of the Sept. 17 vote, in which Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud party won 32 seats and Mr. Gantz’s Blue and White party won 33 seats in the 120-member parliament, the Knesset. But Mr. Netanyahu won the pledges of 55 parliamentary members to be prime minister, while Mr. Gantz garnered 54.

The secular and nationalist politician, Avigdor Lieberman and his Yisrael Beiteinu party, remains kingmaker with eight seats; however, he's consistently refused to back Netanyahu given the latter's backing from religious parties. 

Given Netanyahu's failing to lure Lieberman also after the April vote, and with the major parties characteristically ensconced in their positions, Netanyahu's new mandate to attempt a new government may just prove an act of kicking the can further down the road.