Israel's Netanyahu tapped to form next govt after one-year hiatus

Israel's president officially tapped former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a government on Sunday, ushering the long-serving leader back to power after a one-year hiatus. With Netanyahu comes what's expected to be Israel's most right-wing coalition ever.

Elections earlier this month indicated a clear win for Netanyahu and his ultra-Orthodox and ultranationalist allies and ended the short-lived, ideologically-diverse government that had ousted him last year after Netanyahu's 12 consecutive years in power.

Though political horse-trading began as soon as the election results firmed up, Sunday's development means Netanyahu now has up to six weeks to conclude negotiations and cobble together a government.

Netanyahu struck a conciliatory tone at the Jerusalem event where Israel's ceremonial President Isaac Herzog bestowed upon him the task of forming a government. Netanyahu played down concerns by Israeli liberals and some of the country's international allies that Israel was “entering a dark tunnel” with his expected government.

"We will do everything to make this, with God’s help, a stable government, a successful government, a responsible government, a dedicated government that will work for the benefit of all residents of the state of Israel, without exception,” he said.

Netanyahu is expected to emerge from negotiations with a stable majority coalition of 64 seats in the 120-member Knesset.

(AP)


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