Sources: Rivlin won't extend Netanyahu's mandate

Yisrael Beytenu asks Likud to negotiate.

PRESIDENT REUVEN RIVLIN gestures to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the President’s Residence on Wednesday. (photo credit: REUTERS)
PRESIDENT REUVEN RIVLIN gestures to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the President’s Residence on Wednesday.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s mandate to form a government will not be extended beyond the Thursday, October 24, deadline, sources close to President Reuven Rivlin said on Saturday night, confirming a report on Channel 12.
The sources said it appeared unlikely that there would be a reason to grant Netanyahu the additional two weeks that by law the president may give the first candidate to form a government, as he did after the April election.
Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who is a member of the Likud’s negotiating team, told KAN Radio on Friday that he believed Netanyahu would only return his mandate to form a government to Rivlin when he saw that it was impossible to build a coalition. Elkin estimated that Netanyahu would only come to that conclusion just ahead of the deadline.
In that case, Rivlin would task Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz with building a coalition on the day Netanyahu’s mandate expires. Gantz’s 28-day mandate would end on Thursday, November 21, setting off a three-week period in which any MK may form a government.
Channel 12 reported on Friday that Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit’s pace had been expedited and he would already decide whether to indict Netanyahu in mid-November. The channel reported that not only Gantz but also Netanyahu wants to stall the process of building a coalition until after Mandelblit’s ruling.
While Gantz wants the ruling first, because he is convinced that after a formal bribery indictment of Netanyahu in Case 4000, the Likud will depose him as party leader, Netanyahu wants the ruling expedited because he believes the bribery charge against him will be dropped.
Both pro- and anti-Netanyahu rallies were held on Saturday night outside the Petah Tikva home of Mandelblit.
Yisrael Beytenu faction chairman Oded Forer sent a formal letter to the head of the Likud’s coalition negotiating team, Yariv Levin, on Friday, asking for negotiations on the policy guidelines for the next government.
Forer, who would head Yisrael Beytenu’s negotiating team, asked to meet with Levin’s team. He asked for a “serious and deep” discussion on socioeconomic, diplomatic and security issues, as well as matters of religion and state.
“The need for a national unity government, along with the many challenges it would have to face, requires us to act immediately in order to advance the issue,” Forer wrote Levin.
Levin had not responded to Forer or discussed the letter with Netanyahu as of Saturday night.