Rivlin warns if agreement between Blue and White chair and Netanyahu not reached by Monday deadline, he will ask Knesset to recommend candidate
By RAOUL WOOTLIFF, TOI
“If the two do not sign an agreement by midnight tomorrow, and if the number of recommendations for each candidate does not change, the task of forming the government will return to the Knesset and a period of 21 days will begin during which Knesset members can form a majority to recommend an agreed-on candidate to form a government, who would have 14 days to do so,” the statement said.
During that time, Knesset members are able to recommend one of their peers, who agrees to be nominated, to be given the mandate to form a government. The first MK to receive more than 61 recommendations will be tasked by Rivlin.
The statement from Rivlin’s office added: “If, during the remaining initial time given to Gantz to form a government, the circumstances change and the two sides come to the president with a request for an extension in order to help them come to an agreement, the president will reconsider his decision.”
Likud on Sunday urged Rivlin to task Netanyahu with forming a government.
In a statement to the press Saturday evening, Netanyahu called on Gantz to meet immediately at his residence along with negotiating teams to “advance negotiations.”
Blue and White said in response it would continue with the efforts to form a government but, “we’ll conduct contacts through official negotiating channels and not through the media.”
Blue and White and the Likud are believed to have been on the cusp of reaching a deal this week, before Likud asked to reopen discussions on judicial appointments, leading talks to blow up.<
Some commentators have speculated that Likud is stalling for time to allow Gantz’s mandate to expire, potentially weakening his bargaining position.<
Blue and White said in response to Rivlin’s decision that it was working to form a unity government “as soon as possible” but would not allow Likud to dictate the terms.
“We clarified to Likud that we won’t allow any harm to the rule of law or the foundational principles we presented,” Blue and White said in a statement.
Following Rivlin’s decision, a petition was filed with the High Court of Justice on Sunday seeking to prevent Netanyahu — who is set to go on trial on bribery, fraud and breach of trust charges next month — from forming a government.
The High Court justices, who previously refrained from weighing in, could be forced to hand down their position if Netanyahu is given a chance to cobble together a government.