Tel Aviv (AP) - Benny Gantz of the opposition Middle Alliance Blue-White resigns the mandate to form a government in Israel to President Reuven Rivlin. Gantz had informed Rivlin that he could not form a cabinet, informed Blau-Weiß.
This increases the likelihood of a third parliamentary election within a year. Before Gantz, right-wing conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who faces charges of three corruption cases, failed in his attempt to form a government.
After Gantz's return of the mandate, each member of parliament can now try to find a majority of 61 out of a total of 120 parliamentarians for a governing coalition. If this also fails within the next 21 days, Israel threatens a third parliamentary election within a year. Then the parliament would be dissolved automatically. Within 90 days, a new election would have to be scheduled. It could take place after media reports in the first half of March.
Gantz said to Rivlin that he would continue to strive to "shape a good government for the citizens of Israel" during the 21-day deadline. Netanyahu (Likud) had failed in April after the previous parliamentary election in the formation of a government. He has been in office since 2009 and is currently in charge of government affairs.
Efforts to form a grand coalition of blue-white and likud failed after the election in September. Netanyahu insisted on joining the Alliance with a whole bloc of right and religious parties. However, Gantz has committed to forming a liberal, secular coalition and also rejected an alliance with Netanyahu as head of government, because they face charges in three corruption cases.
Another option was the formation of a minority government - blue-and-white with left-liberal groups and outside support for the United Arab Emirates list. But for Gantz would have been dependent on Avigdor Lieberman of the ultra right party Israel Beitenu. This was considered kingmaker, but declared on Wednesday noon, neither to support a minority government, nor a right-wing religious coalition with a narrow majority.
Forming a government is so difficult because neither the right-wing nor the center-left camp has a majority. Rivlin was in favor of a grand coalition of Likud and blue-and-white. Blue-White emerged as the strongest force in the 17 September election with 33 out of 120 mandates. The Likud came to 32 seats. However, Netanyahu received 55 recommendations from MPs for the post of Prime Minister, Gantz one vote less.
Juval Schani of the Israeli Institute of Democracy holds a grand coalition for the most likely outcome even as the three week deadline begins. The crucial point of controversy between Netanyahu and Gantz was apparently the question of who would become the first head of government on a rotation and who would be the second - and what would happen if Netanyahu were charged. "If they manage to agree on that, then it could go forward."
According to a recent survey, a re-election would ultimately bring almost the same result. As the free paper "Israel Hajom", which is considered close to the government, reported on Friday, Blue-White would again come to 33 mandates. The Likud would sink for a mandate to 31, the Arab list would again receive 13 seats and Israel Beitenu with 9 one more seat.
It was unclear how possible charges in the three corruption cases could influence Netanyahu's political future. It's about allegations of corruption, fraud and infidelity.
According to media reports, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit will announce in the coming days whether he wants to indict Netanyahu or not - possibly even this Thursday. Juval Schani points out that Mandelblit in this case, the Knesset indictment must submit. Netanyahu then again regularly had 30 days to apply for immunity from prosecution.
Without a functioning government, however, there would be no functioning parliament, says Schani. Again, without a functioning parliament, there can be no decision on Netanyahu's immunity - and no trial. This is the common legal opinion. Netanyahu, in the case of an indictment, does not have to resign as prime minister by law, says Shani. However, the legal situation was unclear about a transitional minister-or in the event that Netanyahu should be given the mandate to form a government, even though the Attorney General already wanted to sue him.
Meanwhile, more than 20 people lost their lives in the night of Wednesday on new attacks by the Israeli air force in neighboring Syria. The air strikes were directed against troops closely linked to Israel's archenemy Iran. They were a reaction to Iranian rocket fire from Syria, the Israeli army said Wednesday. The night before, there had been several attacks from the neighboring country on Israel; According to Israeli sources, four missiles were fired from Syria, all intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.