Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
President Reuven Rivlin at a voting station in Jerusalem, during the Knesset Elections, on September 17, 2019.

For the first time in history, this afternoon (Thursday, November 21, 2019) at 1:15 pm local time, President Reuven Rivlin will hand an official announcement to the Speaker of the Knesset saying that the 28 day period that was given to Benny Gantz MK to form a government has passed, and he was unable to do so.

Therefore, according to paragraph 10 of Basic Law: The Government (2001), from Thursday November 21, 2019 / 23 Cheshvan 5780, a majority of members of Knesset [at least 61 MKs] are able to ask the president, in writing, to give the task of forming a government to a member of Knesset (including a member of Knesset who has already been given the task in previous rounds) who has agreed in writing to do so, all within 21 days.

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JewishPress.com presents below a brief explanation of the Constitutional procedure that is expected in the next 21 days, whose aim is to provide a final opportunity to Knesset members to form a government before the Israeli parliament is dispersed ahead of new elections.

1. Basic Law: The Government 10 (a) states that where a government has not been formed in previous procedures under the law, a majority [at least 61] of the members of the Knesset may request, in writing, that the President of the State assign the task to a particular member of the Knesset, [including a member of Knesset who has already been given the task in previous rounds] who so agreed in writing.

2. The period of 21 days that starts today (Thursday 21 November 2019 / 23 Cheshvan 5780) and which follows the 28-day period given to Benny Gantz MK, will expire at 24:00 on Wednesday 11 December 2019 / 13 Kislev 5780.

3. Once the President of the State has been presented with a request of this kind, he must give the task of forming a government to the member of Knesset nominated in the request within two days.

4. The member of Knesset entrusted with forming the government under this procedure has a period of 14 days to do so.

5. If no request is presented by a majority of members of the Knesset within 21 days, the President of the State must inform the Speaker of the Knesset that no such request has been presented and the Knesset will be dissolved and new elections held.

6. Members of Knesset have 21 days to present a request to the President of the State and according to Basic Law: The Government 10 (a) there is no requirement to wait until the end of this period to present a request to the President of the State, and they can do so at any point during this period.

7. Within two days of a request being presented to the President of the State, whether it is close to the end of the 21-day period or beforehand, the President must give the task of forming a government to the member of Knesset nominated in the request.

8. The request must be presented to the President of the State, at Beit HaNasi (the official Presidential Residence) in writing and in person. The request must include the original signatures of at least 61 members of Knesset and the written agreement of the nominated candidate who the President of the State is requested to ask to form a government.

9. Once the President of the State has informed the Speaker of the Knesset that no such request has been presented, according to Basic Law: The Government 11 (b), the Knesset shall be deemed to have decided to disperse prior to the completion of its period of service, and elections for the Knesset will be held on the last Tuesday before the end of 90 days of the President’s announcement.

The bottom line?

If no one steps up, or if someone steps up and not enough lawmakers support him or her this time around, Israel will be forced into going through — and paying for — an unprecedented third round of elections.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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