Rivlin to Announce New Prime Minister Wednesday

Reuven Rivlin looks set to formally announce Binyamin Netanyahu as PM, after a majority of 67 MKs back him to lead coalition government.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

67 MKs have endorsed Netanyahu in talks with Rivlin
67 MKs have endorsed Netanyahu in talks with Rivlin
David Vaaknin/POOL/Flash 90

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to be tasked on Wednesday with forming the next coalition government as the final official results of the March 17 election are published.

The presidency said in a statement that the head of the Central Elections Committee would formally deliver the results to President Reuven Rivlin late afternoon.

Then at 7:30 p.m. (1730 GMT) Rivlin is to give the member of parliament selected to form the next parliament an invitation to do so.

Netanyhu's Likud party won 30 of parliament's 120 seats, compared with 24 for its nearest rival, the left-wing Zionist Union.  

In Israel, it is not necessarily the leader of the largest party who forms the next government and becomes premier, but the one who can form a working coalition, preferably with a majority of at least 61.  

Firm backing for Netanyahu to stay in the post for a third consecutive term emerged during talks on Sunday and Monday between Rivlin and representatives of the 10 parties elected to parliament who told him whom they would recommend as prime minister.

Six parties (Likud, Jewish Home, UTJ, Shas, Yisrael Beytenu and Kulanu) comprising 67 lawmakers, threw their support behind Netanyahu.

At 8:05 p.m. (1805 GMT) on Wednesday, Rivlin and the premier-designate are to deliver public statements, the presidency said.

The nominee will then plunge into intense horsetrading as potential coalition partners battle for portfolios and prestige.

Netanyahu has said he is seeking a partnership with Likud's "natural allies", referring to nationalist parties Jewish Home and Yisrael Beytenu, and haredi parties UTJ and Shas.

Both he and Isaac Herzog, leader of the second-placed Zionist Union, have ruled out joining forces in a unity government.

Public radio said Netanyahu met Tuesday with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, head of the Yisrael Beytenu party, and would hold evening talks with Likud defector Moshe Kahlon, whose newly-minted centrist Kulanu party won 10 seats.

AFP contributed to this report.