The head of Israel’s Central Elections Committee, Neal Hendel, has presented President Reuven Rivlin with the official results of the March 2 general vote, paving the way for consultations that could end the almost a year-long political deadlock in the country.
“This is the place to remind party heads and elected officials that this house, and I personally, are at your disposal for any serious and genuine conversation you may wish to hold. Any agreement that produces a stable government that gains the trust of the people will be welcomed,” Rivlin said in his address to the party leaders who made it to the 23d convocation of the the Knesset.
The ceremony was held in the presidential residence in Jerusalem.
Rivlin is scheduled to hold consultations with Netanyahu and Gantz this Sunday and mandate one of the party leaders with forming a new cabinet. The event will be broadcasted live. There is also a 28-day period allotted for coalition talks, with an extension possibility for up to two weeks.
On March 2, Israel held its third parliamentary elections in a year in a bid to resolve the political deadlock. Neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party nor the Blue and White alliance led by his centrist opponent, Benny Gantz, were able to form a coalition government following two inconclusive votes in April and September of last year.
The March election’s final vote count was completed on Tuesday night, seeing Likud in the lead with 36 seats in the 120-seat parliament. Blue and White came in second with 33 mandates, followed by the Joint List of Arab parties with 15 seats, and the pro-Netanyahu far-right Shas party with 9 seats.
Another ultra-religious party United Torah Judaism, the leftist bloc Labor-Gesher-Meretz, and the right-wing Yisrael Beytenu party each got 7 seats. The right-wing Yamina alliance got six mandates.