Rivlin’s talks begin without flexibility

Rivlin will start his consultations on Monday with Likud representatives Yariv Levin, Miri Regev and David Bitan, who will recommend Netanyahu.

April 15, 2019 03:44
2 minute read.
Rivlin’s talks begin without flexibility

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin during an event marking the Altalena Affair, May 30, 2018. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)


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President Reuven Rivlin will begin hosting party leaders on Monday for consultations on forming a government, but his associates admitted that his ability to influence the makeup of the coalition is limited.

Sixty MKs from five right-wing and haredi (ultra-Orthodox) factions have already committed to support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forming the government. The only question surrounds Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman, who will reveal his demands for the support of his party’s five MKs in a meeting of party activists in Jerusalem on Monday night.

“There is no real room for maneuvering,” a source close to Rivlin said. “We have done the math, so I find it hard to imagine something will be different – unless there ends up being a big surprise.”

Rivlin will start his consultations on Monday with Likud representatives Yariv Levin, Miri Regev and David Bitan, who will recommend Netanyahu. They will be followed by Blue and White representatives Gabi Ashkenazi, Avi Nissenkorn, Orna Barbivai, Ram Ben Barak, Tzvi Hauser, Orly Fruman and Omer Yankelevich, who will recommend Blue and White leader Benny Gantz.

“More than a million people voted for us to lead and replace the government,” the party said in an official statement. “But we will respect the decision of the president.”

Shas, United Torah Judaism and Hadash-Ta’al representatives will also come on Monday. The remaining six factions in the next Knesset will come on Tuesday. Rivlin can ask Netanyahu to form a government as early as Wednesday when the results of the race become official.

The president must appoint the prime minister within a week of official results being publicized. In an effort to maximize transparency, for the first time, the consultations will be broadcast online.

Gantz reiterated in an interview with Channel 12’s Uvda program on Sunday that he will not join a coalition led by Netanyahu.

“I am certain I will serve as prime minister at some point,” Gantz said.

Levin is expected to react at the President’s Residence to a report by Channel 12’s Amnon Abramovich that said if Netanyahu appoints him justice minister, the courts will be tougher on Netanyahu in his criminal cases and “give him an additional year in prison.”

Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit reacted to the report on Sunday at an event of the IDF Public Defender’s Office.

“The reports are baseless, wicked and harmful,” Mandelblit said. “This thing did not happen and will not happen.”

Hagay Hacohen contributed to this report.

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