Israel’s president formally nominated Benjamin Netanyahu for a fourth consecutive term as prime minister, officially launching a process that is expected to result in a new government dominated by religious and nationalist parties in the coming weeks. In one of the president’s few non-ceremonial roles, President Reuven Rivlin tasked Netanyahu with assembling a governing coalition within 42 days. The move was widely expected after Netanyahu’s Likud party and its right-wing allies captured a majority of seats in parliamentary elections.
With 97.4 per cent of the vote counted, Likud and its traditional political allies were in command of a 65-55 majority in parliament. A couple of small parties were still teetering along the electoral threshold and fighting for their survival, so the final makeup of the next parliament has yet to be decided.
If Netanyahu fails to form a coalition within 42 days, Benny Gantz, leader of the rival centrist Blue and White party, would be given a shot at assembling a government. In a matter of months, Netanyahu will officially become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, surpassing David Ben-Gurion, the country’s founding father.