back to square one for Benyamin Netanyahu

The prime minister was on Wednesday charged with forming a government. But he still has no majority after the legislative elections of 17 September.

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Israeli President Reouven Rivlin (right) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on September 25. SEBASTIAN SCHEINER / AP

The Israeli president, Rouven Rivlin, appeared exhausted, Wednesday, September 25 in the evening, when entrusting Benyamin Netanyahu the task of forming a government.

Pale, trying to smile and only grinning, Mr. Rivlin barely looked at his old rival, giving him his mission letter. He knows that Netanyahu is currently unable to succeed: his right-wing alliance did not win a majority in the general elections on 17 September. "This is not a solution", has himself acknowledged the president. But he had no better choice.

Since Sunday, Mr. Rivlin had tried, in vain, to facilitate the formation of a unity government, by meeting twice in his residence Mr. Netanyahu and General Benny Gantz, whose movement Blue White (center right) topped the poll on 17 September. The two men say they are in favor, but they each pose impossible conditions.

Neither gathers around him the 61 deputies who would guarantee them a simple majority in the Knesset. Mr. Netanyahu's "block" (55 seats out of 120) is still the firmest. His transitional government has been prolonged since the April legislative elections, which had already resulted in a stalemate.

Read also Israeli president seeks to break a deadlock

Judicial calendar and political negotiations

"I accept the mission. I do it knowing that I do not have a better chance of forming a government, but a lesser incapacity than Mr. Gantz. I do not think we can form a government if not together "said Mr. Netanyahu, without pointing in any way that he might not be directing the team. Mr. Gantz recalled meanwhile Wednesday night that his training "Not accept(It) not to sit in a government whose leader faces a severe charge. " The general is waiting for the judicial calendar to collide with the political negotiations.

Mr. Netanyahu has twenty-eight days to form a government. His lawyers will be heard from 2 to 3 October by the country's Attorney General, who must decide by the end of the year if he charges him with charges of corruption, fraud and breach of trust.

On Wednesday night, Mr. Netanyahu had the powerful accents of a campaign candidate – he has not been out of this role for a single moment since April. He promised to finally give the firmest and most extensive borders in the country, taking advantage of the "deal of the century" for the Middle East whose US administration keeps repelling the publication, having no more interlocutor full power in Israel.


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