Peres seen asking Netanyahu to form Israel government

JERUSALEM Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:49am IST

Israel's President Shimon Peres (C) shakes hands with Yair Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid (There's a Future) party, in Jerusalem January 30, 2013, after receiving the official results of the general elections held on January 22. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Israel's President Shimon Peres (C) shakes hands with Yair Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid (There's a Future) party, in Jerusalem January 30, 2013, after receiving the official results of the general elections held on January 22.

Credit: Reuters/Ronen Zvulun

Related Topics

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli President Shimon Peres began talks with political parties on Wednesday over who should form a new government and appears certain to ask incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to assemble it.

The formal consultation procedure to nominate a lawmaker to form a government, the president's only important executive power, began after Peres was presented with the official results from last week's parliamentary election.

Peres will meet representatives from all 12 parties elected to the Knesset according to size in descending order, and hopes to complete the formalities within days.

He began the process by meeting representatives of Netanyahu's 31-seat Likud-Beitenu party, the biggest faction in the Knesset, and Yesh Atid, a new party led by political novice Yair Lapid which won 19 seats.

Informal talks between groups began almost immediately after the election result became clear last week. Netanyahu is expected to partner Lapid's centrist party and the 12-seat far-right Jewish Home or "Bayit Yehudi" faction. The three parties would control 62 out of 120 seats in parliament.

Jewish ultra-Orthodox parties are also expected to back Netanyahu and pundits predict he should be able to recruit well over 70 lawmakers into his coalition.

Education Minister Gideon Saar, who led the Likud-Beitenu delegation, said they told Peres he should nominate Netanyahu.

"We recommended to the president to ask that (Netanyahu) form the government," he said after meeting with Peres.

Lapid, who headed his party's representation, also backed Netanyahu to build the coalition.

"Our manifesto says that the person who heads the biggest party should be the one to form the government ... and that is what I and three new Knesset members who came with me have just recommended to the president," Lapid said.

Peres's nominee will have an initial 28 days to form a coalition and could seek a 14-day extension if needed. Coalition building in Israel often involves detailed negotiations. (Editing by Alison Williams)

FILED UNDER:

26/11 Attack

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Lakhvi's Bail

Lakhvi's Bail

Pakistan court bails man accused of masterminding Mumbai attack.  Full Article 

PM's Moves

PM's Moves

Modi moves in to speed up $300 billion stuck projects.  Full Article 

Space Programme

Space Programme

ISRO tests its heaviest space launch vehicle, eyes global market.  Full Article 

"PK" in Cinemas

"PK" in Cinemas

Secret of year's "biggest" Bollywood film is its plot.  Full Article 

Priya's Shakti

Priya's Shakti

Rape survivor turns "superhero" in India's first digital comic.  Full Article 

U.S.-Cuba Ties

U.S.-Cuba Ties

U.S., Cuba restore ties after 50 years.  Full Article 

Threat Works

Threat Works

Sony cancels N.Korea movie in apparent win for Pyongyang hackers.  Full Article 

Safety Concerns

Safety Concerns

Uber plans tighter screening for drivers.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device   Full Coverage