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Netanyahu Granted 2-Week Extension to Form Govt.

Netanyahu Granted 2-Week Extension to Form Govt.

Monday, 13 May, 2019 - 18:15
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was granted a two-week extension by President Reuven Rivlin to form a new government.

Rivlin tasked Netanyahu with building a coalition within 28 days of the April 9 elections.

“Meeting with ... Netanyahu today, who explained the need for additional time to form a government, I acceded to his request and granted an additional 14 days to the time allocated,” Rivlin wrote on Twitter, setting May 29 as the new deadline.

Though Netanyahu appeared close to finalizing deals as of Monday, recent national holidays and a spate of violence in Gaza have interrupted negotiations.

The prime minister's Likud party and its Jewish ultra-Orthodox and nationalist allies won a 65-seat parliamentary majority.

Netanyahu is negotiating terms with nearly all the right-wing, nationalist and religious parties that form his outgoing government.

No party in Israel has ever won an outright majority in the 120-seat Knesset, making coalition governments the norm with political negotiations often dragging on.

It is typical for a leader to request an extension and take advantage of the full 42 days provided by law to assemble a governing coalition.

Under Israeli election rules, if Netanyahu fails to form a coalition after that time, Rivlin can task someone else to do so. Benny Gantz, a former military chief whose centrist Blue and White party won 35 seats in the 120-member legislature, would likely be next in line.

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