FILE - Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he speaks during a news conference in Jerusalem, April 1, 2019.
FILE - Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he speaks during a news conference in Jerusalem, April 1, 2019.

Israel's president said on Tuesday a majority of members of parliament had advised him to have Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu form a government after the April 9 election, effectively ensuring his nomination.

In office for the past decade, Netanyahu won a fifth term despite an announcement by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit in February that he intends to charge the prime minister in three corruption cases. Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing.

FILE - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for his cabinet's weekly meeting, in Jerusalem, April 14, 2019.
Netanyahu Expected to Receive Formal Nod to Remain PM Wednesday
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to receive formal backing to remain premier for a fifth term Wednesday, but tough negotiations to form a coalition government await following last week's elections. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin must choose who will form the next government and is expected to pick Netanyahu to do so on Wednesday night after final election results are announced. Rivlin's office said Tuesday he planned to meet with his choice for premier at 7:00 pm (1600 GMT)…

President Reuven Rivlin chooses a party leader whom he judges has the best prospect of putting together a ruling coalition. He will announce his candidate on Wednesday.

In broadcast remarks on Tuesday, the second day of Rivlin's consultations with political parties on their preferences for prime minister, he said Netanyahu "now has a majority of Knesset members" behind him.

"Any room I had for maneuver has effectively been removed at this moment," he added.

Netanyahu's nomination has been a foregone conclusion since right-wing and religious parties allied with Netanyahu's Likud captured the largest number of seats in the Knesset in last week's ballot and his closest rival, centrist Benny Gantz, conceded defeat.

Netanyahu has said he intends to build a coalition with five far-right, right-wing and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties that would give the Likud-led government 65 seats, four more than his outgoing administration.

Representatives of all of those parties told Rivlin at the meetings, broadcast live on the internet, that they recommended Netanyahu.

Retired Israeli general Benny Gantz, one of the le
FILE - Retired Israeli general Benny Gantz, one of the leaders of the Blue and White party, prepares to deliver a speech during election campaigning for elections to be held April 9, in Ramat Gan, Israel.

Gantz, a former military chief of staff whose Blue and White party won 35 parliamentary seats, would likely be next in line to try to assemble a government if Netanyahu fails to do so within 42 days of being chosen by Rivlin.

Likud, like Gantz's party, secured 35 Knesset seats, up from 30 it had won in the previous election in 2015.

Netanyahu is under no legal obligation to resign if indicted. He can still argue, at a pre-trial hearing whose date has not been set, against the formal filing of bribery and fraud charges against him.

He would become Israel's longest-serving prime minister in July.


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