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Israel’s Netanyahu mandated to form new cabinet amid political stalemate

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leaves after a speech at the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem al-Quds, on December 22, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been tasked with forming a new cabinet after another inconclusive election last month further deepened the Israeli regime's political crisis.

Netanyahu received the mandate from Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday to enlist enough allies for a governing coalition after consultations with political parties.

The longest-serving Israeli prime minister, in power consecutively since 2009, has a maximum of 42 days to form a new cabinet before Rivlin picks another candidate or asks parliament to choose one.

Announcing on television his choice of Netanyahu, Rivlin cast doubt on his prospects for success and on whether any other prospective candidate could fulfill the task of cabinet formation.

"To my great regret, I have the impression that none of the candidates, at this stage, has a real chance of putting together a government, one that would win a confidence vote in parliament," the Israeli president said.

Netanyahu has so far failed to secure enough pledges of allegiance from smaller parties, which would be essential to forming a majority cabinet.

Israel's elections, held on March 23, its fourth in two years, ended with neither a Netanyahu-led right-wing nor a prospective alliance of his opponents securing a majority in the 120-member parliament.

Netanyahu is meanwhile on trial on corruption charges. The hearings entered their second day in a courthouse in Jerusalem al-Quds.

The 71-year-old prime minister is now popularly referred to as "crime minister" for a litany of wrongdoings.

To shift attention away from his graft charges, the premier has been trying in recent months to publicize a vaccination campaign against COVID-19 with the hope of securing more public support.

This is while weekly protests against Netanyahu and his cabinet have been held in the occupied territories for months, with protesters demanding their resignation over corruption.

Israeli voters can be asked to return to the polls for a fifth election in barely two years if neither Netanyahu nor his rivals manage to form a government.


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