Today at midnight: The four ways to make an Israeli government

Minority, unity or right-wing gov't? Elections? Outcome is still unknown

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz at a faction meeting at the Knesset, November 18, 2019 (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/REUTERS)
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz at a faction meeting at the Knesset, November 18, 2019
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/REUTERS)
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz's mandate to form a government ends automatically Wednesday night at 11:59 p.m.
That is definite. The rest remains unknown.
Here are four possibilities of what could happen, in chronological order.
Minority Government: Coalition kingmaker Avigdor Liberman’s deadline for the formation of a national-unity government of Likud, Blue and White and Yisrael Beytenu is noon on Wednesday. If there is no significant progress toward such a government by then, Liberman could give Gantz the green light to form a minority coalition that would be made up of the 52 MKs of Blue and White, Labor-Gesher, the Democratic Union and Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu. If at least four Joint List MKs would agree to support the government from outside the coalition, Gantz would have a majority of 56 MKs over Netanyahu’s 55-MK right-wing and religious bloc. If that happens, Gantz would have to tell President Reuven Rivlin and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein that he “has a government in his hands.” A vote would be held in the Knesset to approve that government within a week. The timing would be decided by Edelstein, not Gantz.
Unity Government: If Gantz fails to build a government by Wednesday’s deadline, there will be 21 days in which any MK can obtain the support of at least 61 MKs and submit the list to Rivlin. The president will then give that candidate 14 days to form a government. If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Gantz form a government together with a rotation in the Prime Minister’s Office, the list of MKs would include the Knesset members from Likud and Blue and White.
Right-wing Government: If Blue and White refuses to join a government led by Netanyahu, Liberman could become frustrated with Gantz and agree to form a homogeneous, 63-MK coalition of right-wing and religious parties led by Netanyahu during those 21 days. Such a government would be very stable, but Netanyahu would have to leave the Prime Minister’s Office if convicted in court. If that happens, there would likely be a primary to succeed him in Likud.

Another Election:
If no candidate forms a government within those 21 days, which end December 11, a third election initiated in under a year will automatically take place on the final Tuesday within 90 days, which is March 10 on the civil calendar and 14 Adar on the Jewish calendar: the holiday of Purim. It is possible that because of that, the election could be scheduled for March 3 instead. If a candidate is given 14 days and fails, the election could end up being later on in March.
Rivlin will then have to call upon an MK to form a government and start the entire process over.