Israel's president Reuven Rivlin has asked the parliament to choose a new prime minister, and gave it three weeks to agree upon a leader or push the country into a fourth election in about a year.
Rivlin made the move after his prime minister-designate, former military chief Benny Gantz, and prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu missed a deadline to form an “emergency” unity government on Thursday, prolonging the political crisis.
Netanyahu declared victory in the March 2 election. His Likud party led the way with 36 seats, ahead of Gantz’s Blue and White party, with 33 seats. However, 61 of parliament’s 120 legislators supported Gantz, giving him a slim majority.
The unity government was agreed in a bid to tackle the country’s coronavirus crisis. Israel has reported more than 12,500 cases and at least 130 deaths from the disease.
On Monday, Gantz and Netanyahu asked Rivlin for an extension of the deadline, insisting they were close to a deal. Rivlin gave them until the end of Wednesday. Israel was shut down until Wednesday evening for the last day of the Passover holiday, but both leaders confirmed they held talks.
Netanyahu and Gantz released a joint statement early on Thursday saying they would continue negotiations later in the day. Talks technically can continue until parliament is formally dissolved.
News Hub Creator email@example.com