Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been given the task of forming the new government. President Izchak Herzog officially gave the mandate to the 73-year-old election winner on Sunday. Of all the candidates, Netanyahu has the best chance of forming a government, the President said at the meeting in Jerusalem. He now has four weeks to do so. However, the leader of the right-wing conservative Likud party is aiming to forge the coalition much earlier.
Negotiations with his possible coalition partners, including the far-right alliance of Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir, are already underway. Your Religious Zionist Party wants to implement far-reaching changes, including a weakening of the judicial system.
Netanyahu stressed that he will be prime minister for all citizens of Israel and will work to form a responsible government. "The people have clearly opted for a government under my leadership," said Netanyahu, who is the subject of a corruption trial. But there are also naysayers who scare the people with prophecies of doom about the impending "end of democracy" in Israel, he said. This won't happen.
Netanyahu's right-wing religious camp won 64 out of 120 seats in the November 1 parliamentary election. It was the fifth election in Israel in three and a half years. The liberal Future Party of incumbent Prime Minister Jair Lapid came in second after Netanyahu's Likud Party.
After last year's election, Netanyahu was the first to be given the mandate to form a government, but failed. At that time, Lapid came into play and initially let Naftali Bennett take the lead as prime minister. However, the coalition of parties from the right to the left broke up in June after internal disputes. Foreign Minister Lapid then took over the post of head of government.
If Netanyahu succeeds in forming a government this time, it would be his second comeback to the post of prime minister. In Israel's history, no one has held office longer than he. The right-wing conservative politician was Prime Minister from 1996 to 1999, then again continuously from 2009 to 2021.