Unity Government:
72 MKs nominate Netanyahu for Prime Minister

Likud, Blue & White submit signatures of 72 MKs to President Rivlin, endorsing Netanyahu as prime minister.

David Rosenberg ,

Knesset Plenum
Knesset Plenum
Adina Wellman, Knesset PR

The planned unity government led by the Likud and Blue and White cleared its last major hurdle Thursday afternoon, when a majority of Knesset Members endorsed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for an additional term as premier.

A total of 72 members of the 120-member Knesset signed onto the endorsement, which was delivered to President Reuven Rivlin Thursday afternoon, just hours before the end of the Knesset’s mandate to nominate a new premier.

“We are in the midst of an unprecedented period, during which the country has undergone three consecutive rounds of elections in the last year and has, in addition, faced the coronavirus along with the rest of the world,” President Rivlin said in a statement released by his office Thursday.

“For the first time in the history of the State of Israel, after no candidate I nominated was able form a government from the 21st, 22nd and 23rd Knessets, on 7 May 2020 I received a written request from a majority of the members of the Knesset to assign the role of forming the government to MK Benjamin Netanyahu.”

Once the signatures are verified and the mandate formally given to Netanyahu, the prime minister will have two weeks to secure the support of 61 MKs for a new government. With 72 MKs backing the government however, Netanyahu and Benny Gantz are expected to easily form the next government, which will likely be sworn in next Wednesday.

The 72 MKs who endorsed Netanyahu Thursday include all of the lawmakers from the Likud, Shas, and United Torah Judaism parties, while the Yamina faction was not requested to sign onto the endorsement letter.

In addition, the Blue and White party, Labor, and Derech Eretz backed nominating Netanyahu.

Earlier on Thursday, the Knesset voted 72 to 36 in favor an amendment to Israel’s Basic Laws.

The amendment, a key part of the unity government agreement, regulates the establishment of a transition government and sets the guidelines for its operation.

The coalition agreement, and Netanyahu’s candidacy for a new term, were both green-lighted by the Supreme Court Thursday, which earlier this week heard petitions calling on the court to intervene.