Casting his vote on Tuesday morning at a polling station set up in a Jerusalem school, Rivlin implored voters in Hebrew and English to vote.“You must vote. It is a real necessity,” he said.As president, one of Rivlin’s responsibilities is choosing a candidate to attempt to form a government after elections.In April, he handed that task to Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, who then failed to garner enough support for a government. Rather than allow Rivlin to select another candidate, Netanyahu engineered the collapse of the Knesset and called new elections for September 17.Rivlin said he understands the “feeling of frustration” among the public at having to go back to the polls.
Surveys have shown Netanyahu and chief rival Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party both still likely falling short of being able to form a government without reaching across the aisle.Rivlin said he will task someone with forming a government within three days of receiving the confirmed finals results from the Central Elections Committee on September 25. The president usually gives the mandate to the person recommended by most lawmakers during consultations, but he has some leeway on the matter, one of his only non-ceremonial roles.The selected lawmaker will then have 28 days to produce a government. Although Rivlin can grant an extension of up to 14 days, the president stressed that he can also choose to give a shorter extension.He said if they fail to form a government he will give another lawmaker a chance, unless no suitable candidate is found, in which case 61 MKs can ask him to give the mandate to any chosen lawmaker, including the MK who was given first shot.Ultimately, the Knesset must give a vote of confidence for any new government, and without that the country would need, “God forbid,” to hold third elections, Rivlin said.The article was published on The Times of Israel