President Reuven Rivlin will have to decide by tomorrow, Monday, when the mandate given to MK Benny Gantz to form a government expires, what the next stage toward the formation of a government will be.
The president has three options. One is to comply with the request made of him yesterday by Gantz to extend the mandate already granted to him. Gantz wrote to the President:
“We have had intensive contacts for the establishment of a government. In fact, I think we are close to signing an agreement, and this requires we have an additional time period to reach a final agreement.”
The Likud, on the other hand, is asking the president to pass the mandate to them and allow Prime Minister Netanyahu to begin talks to assemble the next government in the face of Gantz’s failure to do so.
It should be noted that Gantz no longer has 61 supporters since he disbanded the partnership with MK Yair Lapid and Yesh Atid, as well as with MK Ya’alon’s Telem. The move left Gantz with 19 supporters from his party, as well as apparently the support of MKs Amir Peretz and Itzik Shmuli, who are currently in the process of integrating into Blue and White, bringing the number of Gantz’s supporters to 21.
On the other hand, neither does Netanyahu yet have 61 supporters, since MKs Orly Levi Abekasis, Yoaz Hendel and Zvika Hauser do not support him except in the form of a unity government.
Therefore, the president also has a third option, which is the transfer of the mandate to the Knesset, where each Knesset member will be able to act to gather 61 supporters within a 21-day period and be appointed the next prime minister.
The option to go for a fourth election is theoretically also on the table, but in light of the ongoing war on COVID-19, such a possibility seems unlikely.