Israeli Foreign Minister and ruling Kadima party's new leader Tzipi Livni on Monday night officially received a Presidential mandate to form a new government.
"I agree to take upon myself the role of forming a government," Livni told President Shimon Peres at a brief ceremony at the presidential residence in Jerusalem.
She vowed to embark on the task solemnly.
Shortly earlier, the mainly ceremonial President formally informed Speaker of Parliament Dalia Itzik of his choice, which was made after he had consulted with leaders of all the 13 factions in Parliament, local news service Ynet reported.
By law, Livni, the third and the first woman leader of the Kadima party, has 28 days, with a possible extension of 14 days, to set up her own Cabinet, which has to gain Parliamentary endorsement.
At a joint press conference following the ceremony, Livni called upon the factions to join the government under her leadership, while President Peres wished her good luck from the bottom of his heart.
Should she fail, President Peres may assign the mission to a second and even a third lawmaker, or inform Parliament that no new government cannot be formed. If the Cabinet-making efforts prove to no avail, early general elections would be held, possibly in the spring.
If the current Foreign Minister succeeds, she would replace Premier Ehud Olmert and become the 13th Premier in Israel's history. She has already taken over the leadership of the three-year-old centrist party from Premier Olmert after winning the party's primary last week.
The official authorization came a day after the outgoing Premier Olmert, dogged by a series of police probes, submitted his resignation letter to President Peres.
Yet till the formation of a new government, whether by a lawmaker or after early general elections, Premier Olmert would remain in power as caretaker Prime Minister.
Upon accepting the Cabinet-making mission, Livni expressed gratitude to her predecessor for resigning in a respectable way, who has promised to support her in the bid to form a new government.
Actually, the would-be second woman Prime Minister, following Golda Meir, has already been pushing forward her Cabinet-making efforts since winning out in the primary, and has vowed to set up a government as soon as possible.