The Zionist President Reuven Rivlin chose opposition leader Yair Lapid to form a new government on Wednesday – a step that could lead to the end of the lengthy rule of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Rivlin announced his decision on live television a day after Netanyahu failed to cobble together a governing coalition by a midnight deadline.
Rivlin spent the day consulting with all of the parties elected to Israeli parliament and announced late Wednesday that he believes Lapid has the best chance of forming a coalition.
“I have spoken to Yair Lapid and told him I am giving him the (28-day) mandate,” President Reuven Rivlin said in a televised address, adding that it was clear that the centrist former television anchor “has the best chance to form a government”, having the pledged support of 56 of parliament’s 120 members, still short of a majority.
He acknowledged, however, that “a fifth consecutive election is still, unfortunately, a real possibility.”