All 15 MKs of the Joint List recommended to President Reuven Rivlin that Blue & White leader Benny Gantz form the next government, during consultations on Sunday, March 15, at the President’s Residence. After the September elections, 10 of the 13 Joint List MKs recommended Gantz but the three MKs from Balad didn’t recommend anyone. This time, Balad joined the other three parties of the Joint List in recommending Gantz.
With the endorsement from the entire Joint List, Gantz received endorsements from a majority of MKs, 61 out of 120, having also received the backing of the Labor party, Meretz and Yisrael Beytenu. Consequently, Rivlin handed Gantz the presidential mandate to attempt to form a government within four weeks, something that is not at all certain. While the Joint List has declared it will support Gantz’s government, this support will be from outside and not as members of the governing coalition. Gantz currently faces internal opposition from within Blue & White from at least two MKs who oppose his forming of a minority government with the support of the Joint List.
During Sunday’s consultations with the president, Joint List head MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) told Rivlin his bloc was backing Gantz was “out of hatred for Haman,” borrowing an expression belonging to last week’s Jewish festival of Purim to describe the Joint List’s sentiments towards racist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “If Gantz or Netanyahu attempt to form a national unity emergency government, we will oppose it,” Odeh told the president.