Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu listens to President Reuven Rivlin.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
President Reuven Rivlin received on Wednesday the official election results for the 20th Knesset from Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran, chairman of the Central Elections Committee.
During two days of consultations between the president and the 10 political parties that will be in the next Knesset, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received the support of 67 MKs – from the Likud, Kulanu, Bayit Yehudi, Shas, United Torah Judaism and Yisrael Beytenu. Zionist Union chairman Isaac Herzog received the backing of 29 MKs – from his own party and Meretz. Both the Joint (Arab) List and Yesh Atid declined to recommend anyone to lead the next government.
In his remarks at the official event, Rivlin stressed that the high voter turnout in the March 17 general election – 72.4 percent – was the realization of what democracy means, and declared it to be a blessing for democracy. He reflected on how terrible it would be if the democratic duty to vote was perceived as a curse.
“One who is afraid of votes in a ballot box, will eventually see stones thrown in the street,” he said.
Joubran said the presentation of the results to the president signified the completion of the process for the Knesset election, and thanked Rivlin for having joined in the campaign to encourage more citizens to vote.
After receiving the official results of the election, Rivlin was set to entrust Netanyahu on Wednesday evening with forming his fourth government.
"Having completed my consultations with the parties already this week, it is my intention to award this evening, the task of forming the coalition to the candidate who received the recommendations of most of the Members of Knesset - more than sixty-one MKs. That candidate will receive the first opportunity, to form a coalition."
Joubran said that he was greatly honored to head this demonstration of Israel’s democracy and described the experience as “interesting, unique, complex and frustrating.” He was proud to be part of it and pleased that there been few snags.
The high rate of voting was indicative that the representation in the Knesset reflects the will of the people, he said.
Rivlin thanked Joubran for understanding the need to bring forward the consultations that according to law the president must have with each of the Knesset factions in order to determine which member of the incoming Knesset has the best chance of forming a government.
Rivlin was scheduled to leave on Wednesday night for Singapore to attend the funeral of Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father and long-term prime minister of the island state.