Netanyahu admits that he failed to secure his place as Israel's prime minister

Netanyahu admits that he failed to secure his place as Israel's prime minister
President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands during their joint press conference, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Leslie N. Emory)

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has failed to form a new government after an inconclusive election in September left him struggling to retain power.

The right-wing leader admitted his de facto defeat on Facebook, Haaretz reported. Netanyahu only had two more days left to form a coalition in government to maintain his control.

Without a governing coalition, Netanyahu handed the mandate back to the Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. Rivlin now reportedly plans to formally give Benny Gantz, Netanyahu's chief rival, the mandate for a new government. He'll have 28 days to form his own coalition in the Knesset, Israel's legislature.

But Gantz's success isn't guaranteed. If he fails to woo a majority of the Knesset to support his governing coalition, and he will likely struggle, others may have the opportunity to try. If such attempts continue to fail, Haaretz reported, Israel would have to have its third national election within a single year.

The results of the September election could be critical for Netanyahu personally as he faces possible criminal charges. Gantz claimed that, in negotiating with Netanyahu over a possible deal, the current prime minister was more interested in securing immunity for himself than he was in building unity in the country, the Washington Post reported.

Netanyahu has served as Israel's prime minister for a decade.

As Quartz noted:

Arab parties will likely be pleased with this outcome and will rally behind Gantz. He represents the first chance in a decade to steer Israel in a different direction after Netanyahu’s hard right hawkishness.

Last month, the Arab Joint List—a coalition of four parties who won seats in the Israeli government— recommended to Rivlin that Gantz be tapped to form the next government, though their plea was unsuccessful.

The Arab Joint List is eagerly welcoming the end of Netanyahu’s leadership. Ayman Odeh, who heads the coalition, explained why he was hopeful in a New York Times op-ed last month after the elections. “The Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel have chosen to reject… Netanyahu, his politics of fear and hate, and the inequality and division he advanced for the past decade.”


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