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The "Netanyahu" party accuses the Israeli president of interfering in the Knesset elections

Members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party accused President Reuven Rivlin of interfering in political affairs after he called for "unconventional relations and cooperation" in the next government.

Haaretz newspaper reported that Rivlin will choose a candidate to form the next government after he meets with party leaders next Monday, after he received the official election results from Central Election Commission Chairman Uzi Vogelman, amid continuing coalition talks between the party leaders.

Rivlin’s statements included his saying, "7 years since assuming the presidency, this is the fifth time that I have received the results of the Knesset elections, and the fourth time in less than two years .. The main consideration for choosing a candidate to be appointed to form a government is the chances of a Knesset member that would gain the Knesset's support ... and a government It would heal the divisions and heal the Israeli society that has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. "

He added that Israel "needs a government that passes a budget and extricates state institutions from political paralysis," expressing his hope that the elected officials will listen to the Israeli people and their demands for non-traditional contacts and cooperation across various sectors of society for the sake of the citizens of Israel.

Likud party members - including Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin and Ministers Amir Ohana and Yuval Steinitz - accused President Reuven Rivlin of political interference after his speech, and said in a joint statement, "The president does not decide the election results!"

They added, "Since the founding of Israel, every president has chosen a candidate from the party that wins the largest number of seats, which should be this time."

Likud won the most seats in the last Israeli elections, but it has no clear path to forming a government as the majority of Knesset members have said they will not join a government led by Netanyahu.

Bezalel Smotrich (a member of the Knesset of the far-right religious Zionist Party who won 6 seats) tweeted, criticizing what he described as "blatant interference in the political process," and denouncing the president's statements, describing it as "preferring an Arab left-wing coalition led by Bennett .. People chose Netanyahu." (For the prime minister's position) unequivocally, "and criticized Rivlin's intervention, describing it as" anti-democratic. "

In turn, Yesh Atid leader (the second largest party in the Knesset) Yair Lapid said, "The Likud's attack on the president is further evidence that we have only two options; either Netanyahu's rule continues to endanger state institutions or the opposition bloc offers an alternative."

For his part, the head of the Blue White party, Benny Gantz, said, "No institution in the state is safe from the persecution of the prime minister and his accomplices ... It started with the police, the attorney general, the Israeli Supreme Court, and now the president."

He added that he would recommend that Yair Lapid of the Yesh Atid party be appointed first to form a government, "if you see that it serves the purpose of replacing Netanyahu."