Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid has informed the president on Wednesday that he can form a coalition government in a move that would bring an end to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12 years in power.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid party, was tasked with forming a government by President Reuven Rivlin after Netanyahu again failed to put together his own coalition following Israel’s fourth inconclusive election in less than two years.
Lapid, a former TV presenter and a secular centrist, won the crucial support of hardline religious-nationalist Naftali Bennett, a tech multi-millionaire who has held a number of government portfolios including the defence ministry, on Sunday.
Latest political drama in Israel adds to the woes of Netanyahu, who is on trial for criminal charges of fraud, bribery and breach of trust while in office – accusations he denies.
After losing the job of prime minister, he will not be able to push through changes to basic laws that could give him immunity and will lose control over certain justice ministry nominations.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud won the most seats in the March 23 election, but he was unable to form a majority with his natural allies. Crucially, Bennett’s far-right party – allied with Netanyahu – refused to join forces with the United Arab List, a party that emerged as a kingmaker of sorts.