(November 3, 2022 / JNS) With Israeli opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu poised to return to the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem following his right-religious bloc’s apparent victory in Tuesday’s national elections, focus is beginning to shift to the political process that will culminate with the formation of the Jewish state’s next governing coalition.
According to Israel’s Basic Law: The Knesset, Central Elections Committee chairman Justice Yitzhak Amit must present the final results of the elections to President Isaac Herzog by Nov. 9.
Thereafter, Herzog will have seven days to hold consultations with the leaders of parties elected to the 25th Knesset—a process that will be broadcast live on Israeli television in accordance with the law–before tasking a candidate with forming a coalition based on their recommendations.
That candidate, which will almost certainly be Netanyahu, will then have four weeks, with the possibility of a 14-day extension, to earn the formal support of at least 61 parliamentarians to pass a confidence vote in the 120-seat Knesset.
If the candidate is unable to form a coalition within the allotted time frame, Herzog can either task another party head with doing so, or inform the Knesset Speaker that he sees no prospect for the formation of a coalition, in which case parliament would disband and the country would head to another round of elections within 90 days.
In the former case, the chosen candidate would have just 28 days to receive the formal backing of a majority of legislators (in Israel, a minority government is formed when a ruling coalition comprises fewer than 61 lawmakers but is backed in key votes by members of the opposition).
Should the second candidate also fail to secure the necessary support, a majority of Knesset members could, in turn, submit a joint formal written request to Herzog to task a specific lawmaker with forming a coalition within 21 days. If no such request is made, or if the third candidate is unable to form a coalition, the legislature will be dissolved and Israelis would head to the polls again, for the sixth time in just over four years.
However, after five elections in rapid succession beginning in April 2019, the Israeli public has seemingly given Netanyahu a resounding mandate to helm a stable, right-religious coalition.
Already Israel’s longest-serving premier, Netanyahu looks primed to return to the Prime Minister’s Office for an unprecedented third round of leadership, after holding the post from 1996-1999 and 2009-2021.
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