The Israeli president entrusts Netanyahu with the task of forming the government

The Likud took 32 votes, one less than its Blue White rival (33). But in terms of a coalition the outgoing premier has 55 seats, against 54 in Gantz. Now the prime minister has 28 days to look for the seats needed for a parliamentary majority. But the rival has already ruled out the prospect of an alliance with a government led by Netanyahu.


Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At the conclusion of the round of consultations, Israeli President Rueven Rivlin has entrusted 69-year-old Benjamin Netanyahu with an exploratory mandate for the formation of the new government. The head of state has decided to focus on the outgoing Prime Minister, once it became clear that it would be impossible to form a government of national unity.

In the aftermath of the vote, Rivlin called for the formation of an inclusive government, including both the right-wing Likud party led by Netanyahu, and the "Blue White" center alliance of centrist leader Benny Gantz.

The Likud was the second party in the September 17 elections, with 32 seats against the 33 of the rival Blue White; however, the outgoing premier is first in the coalition with 55 seats against the 54 of the 60-year-old Gantz.

At least 61 seats are needed to have a majority in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, a target neither faction reached. Accepting the job from the president, a Netanyahu that appeared to be weaker than in the past admitted that the chances of arriving at the formation of an executive are slightly higher than those of rival Gantz.

The outgoing premier, who without the shield guaranteed by the role of prime minister risks ending up on trial for corruption, will now have 28 days to form a new government, with a possible extension of two weeks. If he fails in his attempt, the president will be able to entrust the task to another personality.

Netanyahu insists on the project of alliance with the "Blue White" coalition and a rotation in the leadership of the executive - but the first two years would bring him to himself, to get away from the courts - as the only way to get out of the impasse and avoid a third vote in a year, a scenario never seen before in the country.

However, in late evening yesterday, Gantz's reply arrived, rejecting the hypothesis of an alliance with the Likud to contribute to a government led by a premier who faces corruption charges. "The Blue White party I lead - the former general said - will never accept to sit in a government whose leader is under the play of very serious accusations". Ex-defense minister Avigdor Lieberman, who with the eight seats won by his Yisrael Beitenu could be decisive for the birth of a new government, is in the wings.

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