Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu swore in his government Sunday after a year and a half of political deadlock.
The prime minister is set to stand trial for corruption charges next week but was cleared by the country’s Supreme Court last week to form a government.
A controversial power sharing deal between Netanyahu and his opposition rival of the centrist Blue and White party, Benny Gantz, states that Netanyahu will remain prime minister for 18 months before handing off the post to his new partner.
Opponents to the deal argue that the job of “alternate prime minister” is illegal.
The cabinet will have a record high of 36 ministers.
The deal follows three inconclusive elections. Gantz had originally said he would refuse any power-sharing deal with a leader who was facing trial, but recently reversed his position, saying he wants to help Israel emerge from the coronavirus pandemic without a fourth election hanging over its head.
A court indicted Netanyahu late last year on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust, including allegations of promising political favors to media tycoons in exchange for lavish gifts or favorable news coverage. He denies the charges and calls himself the victim of a political witch hunt. His trial is set to begin May 24.
Under Israeli law, indicted government ministers must resign. But it has never been settled whether the law also applies to prime ministers or whether they are allowed to form a government while facing a trial.