Monday April 12, 2021

Israeli parliament inaugurated following inconclusive polls

Published : 06 Apr 2021, 23:10

  DF News Desk

Photo taken on April 6, 2021 shows swearing-in ceremony of the Israeli 24th Israeli Knesset (parliament) in Jerusalem. Photo: JINI via Xinhua.

Newly-elected Israeli lawmakers were sworn in at a ceremony on Tuesday amid uncertainties over the possibility of forming a new government following the fourth consecutive inconclusive elections, reported Xinhua.

The ceremony marked the inauguration of Israel's 24th Knesset (parliament). The event began with an address by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to the newly-elected 120 members of the Knesset.

He urged the lawmakers to show leadership and end the prolonged political deadlock. "The Israeli people expect each one of you to show leadership," he said in televised remarks.

Earlier in the day, Rivlin said no party leader gained enough support to form a majority government, but tapped Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the task, amid the longtime leader's criminal trial.

Rivlin noted that Netanyahu holds the most support, 52 seats, but still runs short of 61 seats needed to form a majority coalition in the 120-seat Knesset.

The decision means that Netanyahu now has 28 days to put together a coalition government, with a possibility of a two-week extension before Rivlin tasks another candidate or asks the Knesset to choose one.

Netanyahu, who has been in power since 2009, is facing a criminal trial over corruption charges in three separate cases. His trial in the Jerusalem District Court resumed on Monday with the prosecution's opening arguments.

No party gained enough votes to form a majority government in the March 23 elections. It was Israel's fourth election in two years amid a lingering political deadlock.