(October 23, 2019 / JNS) Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz vowed to form a “liberal unity government” after being tasked by Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin to form a new government on Wednesday.
“I will work for all of the people of Israel. A government that Israel is desperate for. We will form a government that will push for peace and will know to deal definitively with every enemy,” said Gantz.
Rivlin tapped Gantz, whose party won the largest number of seats in the Sept. 17 election, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was for the second time this year unable to form a governing coalition.
Netanyahu got the first shot after being endorsed by 55 MKs, while Gantz was only endorsed by 54—10 of whom were from the Joint Arab List and promised not to sit in a Gantz-led government. Gantz, like Netanyahu, will have 28 days to form a coalition.
Gantz invited Netanyahu to sit down and discuss forming a coalition, suggesting that he would welcome the Israeli leader into his cabinet.
“I will invite all the parties that are represented in the Knesset, even those who will not be in the government,” he said. “I will first turn to the Likud and to its head, Netanyahu, and offer for him to be part of that government.”
In his remarks, Rivlin stressed the need to avoid an unprecedented third election in less than a year.
“It is possible to form a government. There is no justification for forcing another election cycle—the third—on the Israeli public. If no government is formed, the Israeli public are the ones who will pay the price,” he said.
If Gantz is unable to form a coalition, then Rivlin is expected to open the process up to the wider Knesset, where a majority of lawmakers can endorse any member, including Netanyahu and Gantz, to become prime minister.
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