Lapid Informs President He Can Form Government, Removing Netanyahu from Power
Thirty-five minutes before a midnight deadline, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid on Wednesday night informed President Reuven Rivlin he is able to form a government in which he and Yamina chief Naftali Bennett will switch off as prime minister, positioning themselves to replace Israel’s longest-serving leader Benjamin Netanyahu as premier.
Under the terms of the new coalition, Bennett is to serve as prime minister until September 2023, when Lapid will take over from him until the end of the Knesset term in November 2025. The agreement came together after Ra’am leader Mansour Abbas threw his support behind the would-be government late on Wednesday night, setting up his Islamist party to be the first majority Arab party in decades to be part of a ruling coalition.
Despite Lapid’s declaration, it remained unclear that the prospective “change government” will make it past the finish line. It is set to include 61 of the 120 MKs — the narrowest possible majority. And an MK from Bennett’s Yamina, Nir Orbach, earlier on Wednesday night announced he could vote against the new coalition, a move that could potentially doom the prospective razor-thin government of right-wing, centrist, left-wing parties and the Islamist Ra’am.
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