15 March 2020 Israeli President asks Benny Gantz to form a new government

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin tasked Benny Gantz, leader of the Blue and White party, with forming a new government on 15 March. Gantz was appointed after the leaders of Yisrael Beytenu, the Arab Joint List and Labor-Gesher-Meretz parties met with Rivlin and announced that they would endorse him as the next prime minister. All them together account for 62 seats of the Knesset, one seat above the needed majority to form a new government. Gantz will now have up to 42 days of negotiations to forge this majority coalition. He called for the support of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party in order to end the country’s political deadlock and avoid the fourth parliamentary elections in less than a year. At the nomination ceremony, he declared: “I will do all in my ability to establish within a few days as broad and patriotic a government as possible”. Netanyahu, whose bloc obtained 58 seats in the 2 March elections, is now facing criticism over his upcoming corruption trials, which were postponed until 24 May due to the coronavirus outbreak.