So you thought the election was over and the winner was more or less determined while we wait for the vote to be certified.
Not so fast.
Now begins perhaps the most challenging part of the entire election process: coalition building.
Next week, Israeli President Isaac Herzog will receive the official results and then begin to hold consultations with representatives of the various parties that won seats in the 25th Knesset government. He has a week, according to law, to schedule these parlays with all the representatives.
Then, Herzog will assign one of them with forming a government.
With a commanding (but not official yet) 32 seats, the leader of the Likud party – Benjamin Netanyahu – is expected to get a first shot at building a majority coalition. He has a clear right-wing bloc already shored up if his traditional partners – the ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism – go along with him. And he is sure to have Religious Zionism with its substantial 14 seats to push him over the edge.
Netanyahu doesn’t need more than that and he is already over 60 – as high as possibly 65 seats with just these four parties.
He will have 28 days to present a slate to Herzog. However, if he happens to fail (which seems unlikely), the president can give him another 14 days to try again or “consider an additional round of consultations,” according to Herzog’s office.
Here is the expected timetable:
Nov. 9: Final date for the official publication of the election results.
Nov. 16: Final date to assign the task of forming a government.
This is followed by 28 days for an initial round of coalition building with the possibility of a 14-day extension if needed, but no more than 42 days total.
If the Knesset member who has been assigned the task of forming a government is unable to do so within the allocated period, the president will assign the task of forming a government to another member of Knesset or inform the Speaker of the Knesset that he sees no possibility of arriving at the formation of a government.
Herzog may also opt to have another round of consultations with Knesset members before the two options above.
In instances where there is no clarity on who can lead a government, “a majority of members of Knesset are entitled to request from the president, in writing, to assign the task of forming a government on a certain member of Knesset, who has agreed to it in writing, within 21 days.”
The clock starts ticking for 14 days.
A deadlock on that could result in dissolving the parliament and new elections would be called for three months from that time.
Nicole Jansezian was the news editor and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS.