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Rivlin sends mandate back to Knesset, starting 21-day countdown to election

President Reuven Rivlin hands Knesset Speaker Benny Gantz the formal notice that his mandate to form a government is over, after the Blue and White party leader failed to do so by yesterday’s midnight deadline.

For only the second time in Israel’s history, the mandate to form a governing coalition is now in the hands of the Knesset.

If 61 lawmakers sign their support for a fellow MK to form a government over the next 21 days, that person will be tasked with doing so. If not, the country goes to the polls once again.

“I hope that the Knesset members will be able to form a majority in such a way that a government can be formed as soon as possible, to prevent a fourth round of elections,” Rivlin wrote.

Negotiating teams for Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud continued their talks to form a unity government late yesterday night and into the early hours of this morning, and agreed to meet again later today, even as the latter’s presidential mandate to form a coalition expired at midnight.

Passing the mandate the the Knesset essentially gives Netanyahu and Gantz three more weeks to seal a deal, or theoretically opens the door to other coalition possibilities.

Source: TOI by Raoul Wootliff