Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has tasked current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a new coalition government on Tuesday, saying the criminal charges Netanyahu’s faces are not a roadblock to his ability to serve, even if they may pose “moral and ethical” questions.
“The principal consideration that Israeli presidents must bear in mind when deciding who to entrust with the task of forming a government is which candidate has the best chance of forming a government,” Rivlin tweeted.
“I have come to a decision based on the number of recommendations, which indicates that MK Benjamin Netanyahu has a slightly higher chance of forming a government. Accordingly, I have decided to entrust him with the task of doing so,” he wrote.
“This is not an easy decision on a moral and ethical basis, in my mind. As I said at the beginning of my remarks, the State of Israel is not to be taken for granted. And I fear for my country.”
Nevertheless, Rivlin argued, his decision was based on what is required of him as president by law, by the courts, and in “realizing the will of the sovereign – the Israeli people.”
The president also noted that his consultations with lawmakers led him to believe that no candidate actually has a realistic chance at forming a government that would gain the confidence of the Knesset, and said he would give the decision back to the legislature if the law allowed him to do so.
Netanyahu now has one month to cobble together a new coalition government. His Likud Party won 30 of the Knesset’s 120 seats in the 23 March election. 61 seats are necessary to form a government.