©Health & Fitness Journal. FILE PHOTO: Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he addresses his supporters at his party headquarters during Israel’s general election in Jerusalem November 2, 2022. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
JERUSALEM (Health & Fitness Journal) – Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu will have until December 21 to form a new government after receiving a 10-day extension on Friday.
Netanyahu was appointed to lead the country after a right-wing victory in the Nov. 1 elections. He has secured a majority in parliament but has yet to finalize the coalition agreements.
With his original mandate set to expire on Sunday, Netanyahu requested the maximum two-week extension permitted by law. President Isaac Herzog, whose role as head of state is largely ceremonial, gave him ten extra days.
Coalition talks have dragged on longer than expected as Netanyahu has had support from the outset from right-wing and religious parties that control 64 of the Knesset’s 120 seats.
A major point of contention was who gets which ministerial post and the division of power between them, Israeli media reported.
The centrist opposition had urged Herzog not to grant an extension and accused Netanyahu of buying time to pass divisive legislation. Such a bill would allow a senior partner of Netanyahu to serve in the cabinet despite a criminal record.
Should Netanyahu fail to meet the deadline, Herzog can appoint another member of the Knesset to form a government. Otherwise, a new election will be scheduled. A prolonged political deadlock has resulted in five elections in less than four years. An outgoing caretaker government remains in office.
“These are complex days for Israeli society, in which disputes over fundamental issues threaten to rupture and ignite violence and hatred,” Herzog said in a letter to Netanyahu that his office made public.
He called for the formation of a government that represents the whole country and a coalition that fosters respectful dialogue between branches of government.