Netanyahu Chosen to Try to Form Israel’s Next Government

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was tapped to try to form Israel’s next government, a challenge that dangles a way out of his legal woes but could prove impossible if he can’t muster enough backing in parliament.

The country’s March 23 election -- the fourth in two years -- failed to give Netanyahu or his opponents a clear path to building a coalition. President Reuven Rivlin gave him the prime minister the first shot at trying after he received the support of 52 lawmakers -- nine short of a parliamentary majority, but more than any opponent.

Netanyahu’s struggle for political survival comes as his corruption trial moves into high gear. Remaining in power is his only hope for derailing the proceedings, by offering the opportunity to enact legislation shielding an incumbent leader from prosecution.

His legal and political fates may depend on two politicians who have maneuvered themselves into potential kingmaker roles, but haven’t indicated whether they’d sit with him in government. One is an Arab party that could either join an Israeli coalition in a historic first -- or vote with Netanyahu from outside the government.

Netanyahu will have up to six weeks to try to cobble together a coalition. If he fails, Rivlin can appoint another lawmaker to give it a go.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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