President Reuven Rivlin announced on Sunday to Blue and White Chair Benny Gantz that he would not extend Gantz’s mandate to assemble a government that he received four weeks ago.
Rivlin also announced that unless an agreement on the formation of a government is reached by tomorrow, Monday, at midnight, the mandate for assembly of a government will return to the Knesset and will not be passed to Binyamin Netanyahu.
The President’s Residence said that the President made this decision after also speaking to Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu who did not confirm that the two were close to signing an agreement that would lead to a unity government.
“If the two don’t sign an agreement by midnight tomorrow, and the map of recommendations does not change, the mandate will return to the Knesset and a 21-day period will begin during which members of the Knesset can form a majority to recommend an agreed-upon candidate. The agreed-upon candidate will be given 14 days to form a government,” the statement said.
The President’s Residence qualified the statement, noting, “If, before the end of the initial period given to Gantz to form a government, circumstances change and the parties come to the President requesting an extension of the period to help them reach an agreement, the President will reconsider.”
If, in the 21 days when 61 signatures can be collected for the purpose of assembling a government, no Knesset member fulfills the task, Israel will embark on its fourth election campaign within a year and a half.