Israel’s president on Wednesday formally nominated Benjamin Netanyahu for a fourth consecutive term as prime minister, officially launching a process that is expected to result in a new government dominated by religious and nationalist parties in the coming weeks, report agencies.
In one of the president’s few non-ceremonial roles, President Reuven Rivlin tasked Netanyahu with assembling a governing coalition within 42 days. The move was widely expected after Netanyahu’s Likud party and its right-wing allies captured a majority of seats in parliamentary elections last week.
In a joint appearance after the two leaders signed and presented the official nomination, Rivlin called on Netanyahu to ‘heal the wounds and rifts’ laid bare in Israeli society by the bruising election campaign.
Netanyahu said he was ‘moved’ to accept his fifth nomination as prime minister ‘as though it’s the first time, and in a certain way, even more than the first time.’
He said he would ‘do everything to earn the trust that the citizens of Israel have bestowed on me.’ In a post-election ritual, Rivlin hosted consultations with party leaders this week to hear their recommendations for who should serve as the next prime minister.
Netanyahu’s nationalist and religious allies all lobbied for Netanyahu to continue as prime minister. The last one to hold out, former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman of the hawkish Yisrael Beitenu party, formally confirmed his support for Netanyahu late Monday.