Netanyahu tells Israeli president he has formed government

Netanyahu tells Israeli president he has formed government

New government to be sworn in before Knesset convenes next Monday

By Zain Khalil

JERUSALEM (AA) - Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu announced late Wednesday that he had completed forming a new government with his allies in the right-wing camp, minutes before the end of the mandate given to him to accomplish the task.

Netanyahu phoned President Isaac Herzog, who initially gave him a 28-day deadline to form a government, before following it with a 10-day extension that ended at Wednesday-Thursday midnight, according to the official Israeli Broadcasting Corporation.

Bezalel Smotrich, leader of the Religious Zionist party, had anticipated Netanyahu's announcement, writing on Twitter, “Good afternoon, we got it.”

The government is scheduled to be sworn in before the Knesset (parliament) convenes next Monday, according to private Israeli Channel 12.

“The next step awaiting Netanyahu, after completing the enactment of laws in the Knesset, is the distribution of roles among the Likud members,” Maariv daily reported

According to the newspaper, the first round of talks between Netanyahu and Likud members two weeks ago was “complicated” since "the number of members requesting ministerial portfolios exceeds the number of portfolios remaining for the Likud after the coalition negotiations."

Netanyahu, 73, served as prime minister from 1996 to 1999, and then for 12 straight years, from 2009 to 2021.

*Ikram Imane Kouachi in Ankara contributed to this report

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