Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope party said Wednesday that it would tell President Reuven Rivlin that it recommends that Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid form the next government, greatly increasing the opposition chief’s chances of being handed the mandate after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to muster a majority coalition in his allocated time.
In the previous round of consultations with Rivlin last month, Sa’ar’s six-member party didn’t back anyone as premier.
Additionally, the majority of the Joint List alliance of predominantly Arab parties also chose to back Lapid this time around, saying that it preferred him to any of the other options.
The addition of New Hope and five of Joint List’s six Knesset members has now boosted Lapid’s bloc of backers from 45 to 56, including Yesh Atid, Blue and White, Labor, Meretz and Yisrael Beytenu.
The parties backed Lapid as prime minister when they met Rivlin for consultations aimed at deciding whom to task with forming a new government, a day after Netanyahu announced that he had failed.
Rivlin met Lapid — who reiterated his request to be tasked with forming a government — and then Naftali Bennett, who heads the seven-seat Yamina and is reportedly set to go first as prime minister in an emerging rotation deal with Lapid for a unity government. Similar to the last time they met, Bennett recommended himself for the task, meaning he has 7 recommendations to Lapid’s 56.
Reports said Rivlin may also meet Lapid and Bennett together.
The bloc of parties that supported Netanyahu in the previous round of consultations — Likud, United Torah Judaism, Shas and Religious Zionism — told Rivlin they recommend nobody and asked the president to send the mandate back to the Knesset. Continue Reading….