What happens now: A timetable of the process to (maybe) form a government

With Israel’s latest election over, attempts to form a new government begin, though at the moment the prospects of those efforts succeeding look about as grim as the wake of the country’s last three inconclusive national votes.

Below is an approximate timeline for the next stages of the process

Next Wednesday, March 31, the Central Elections Committee will present the official election results to President Reuven Rivlin. The CEC has noted that though all votes have been tallied, the process is still being double checked, and until the results are handed over to Rivlin, slight changes are still possible.


Get The Times of Israel’s Daily Edition by email and never miss our top stories


Free Sign Up

However, such changes are at this point unlikely.

A few days later, on April 5, Rivlin will meet with representatives of all elected parties to hear who they recommend be given a mandate to form the next government. This process has traditionally lasted a few days, but after last year’s election it was completed in one.

That same day will see the start of the evidentiary stage of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s criminal trial for alleged corruption — the years-long parallel process that is seen by many as the source of the country’s political paralysis. He may be required to attend.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the Likud party, addresses supporters at the party’s election night event in Jerusalem, early on March 24, 2021. (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP)

On April 6 the new Knesset’s members will be sworn into office. It remains to be seen whether they’ll get to spend much time there, or whether the legislature is once again disbanded weeks from now.

A day later, on April 7, Rivlin will announce who will be given the mandate to form the next government, based on whom he assesses has the best chance of doing so. That person will then have 28 days — or until May 5 — to present his or her government. If he or she fails to do so by that time, he or she can request a two week extension, until May 19.

If the person with the mandate does not succeed in forming a government, the president can either task a second person with the attempt (for another period of 28 days and a possible additional 14), or send the mandate back to the Knesset, giving the legislature 21 days to agree on a candidate supported by 61 MKs. If the president appoints a second person and that person also fails to assemble a coalition, the mandate automatically returns to the Knesset for the 21-day period. during that time, any MK is eligible to attempt forming a government led by them.

At the end of the 21-day period, if no candidate has been agreed upon by 61 MKs, the new Knesset automatically disbands and the country heads to yet another election. The latest this would happen would be mid-July, with an election some three months later.

The Knesset plenum on December 2, 2020. (Knesset spokesperson/Danny Shem-Tov)

Up until the current political crisis that began in 2019, no candidate tasked by the president with forming a government had ever failed to do so within the initial time limit. However, following the April 2019 election Netanyahu failed to do so, and a Knesset majority voted to disband and hold new elections; following the September 2019 election, both Netanyahu and then Gantz failed to form a government, triggering the 21-day deadline for the first time ever, at the end of which new elections were called; and finally, after the March 2020 election, Gantz was given the mandate and eventually agreed to a power-sharing coalition with Netanyahu, which collapsed nine months later.

With the Knesset once again divided into warring blocs and no clear path to a ruling majority for any candidate, how things will play out in this fourth round remains anyone’s guess.

I’m proud to work at The Times of Israel

I’ll tell you the truth: Life here in Israel isn’t always easy. But it’s full of beauty and meaning.

I’m proud to work at The Times of Israel alongside colleagues who pour their hearts into their work day in, day out, to capture the complexity of this extraordinary place.

I believe our reporting sets an important tone of honesty and decency that’s essential to understand what’s really happening in Israel. It takes a lot of time, commitment and hard work from our team to get this right.

Your support, through membership in The Times of Israel Community, enables us to continue our work. Would you join our Community today?

Thank you,

Sarah Tuttle Singer, New Media Editor


Join the Times of Israel Community


Join Our Community

Already a member? Sign in to stop seeing this

You’re serious. We appreciate that!

We’re really pleased that you’ve read X Times of Israel articles in the past month.

That’s why we come to work every day – to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we haven’t put up a paywall. But as the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.

For as little as $6 a month you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREE, as well as accessing exclusive content available only to Times of Israel Community members.


Join Our Community


Join Our Community

Already a member? Sign in to stop seeing this


SUBSCRIBE TO OUR FOREIGN POLICY UPDATES:


    FOREIGN POLICY

    We promote foreign policies that advance America’s values and interests.