New Israeli government
After longtime Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to admit failure in his attempts to strike an agreement with potential coalition partners on Tuesday night, centrist lawmaker Yair Lapid has been charged with forming a new government in Israel.
Lapid, whose Yesh Atid party finished second to Netanyahu's Likud in the March 23 election, obtained the mandate from President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday evening.
Yesh Atid's leader now has four weeks to form a coalition of parties ranging from the far right to the left, which would almost certainly include support from some Arab lawmakers.
"A unified government isn't a compromise or a last resort; it's a target, and it's exactly what we require. We require a government that reflects the fact that we are not enemies. A government in which the left, right, and middle collaborate to address the nation's economic and security challenges. A government that will demonstrate that our differences, rather than being a source of weakness, are a source of strength "Lapid said in a hushed tone.
His most difficult job would be persuading former Defense Minister Naftali Bennett and his right-wing Yamina faction to enter the coalition.
Bennett has already been given a revolving Prime Ministership by Lapid, with the Yamina leader taking the helm first.
Bennett has previously stated that he prefers a right-wing government, but he has not ruled out participating in a left-wing administration.
Bennett had told Rivlin that he wanted a "broad and stable government," according to Rivlin. The President added that Bennett did not rule out forming a government with Lapid.
Rivlin also said that although Lapid now had the mandate, he would still be able to go second in any rotating Premiership offer he may be able to negotiate.
Netanyahu will remain Prime Minister of Israel until a new government is formed and sworn in.