Netanyahu again fails to form govt in Israel
Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has failed to form a government following an inconclusive repeat parliamentary election last month, opening the door for his main rival Benny Gantz to get a chance to become the country's next leader.
President Reuven Rivlin said he would give Gantz, the former army chief, the mandate to try to become the prime minister after Netanyahu failed to muster the support of 61 members in a 120 member Knesset (parliament).
Netanyahu, who was first tasked with forming the next government by Rivlin by virtue of support of 55 members compared to Gantz's 54, announced on Monday evening, immediately after the end of Succot holidays, that he cannot cobble a government together and was returning the mandate.
The Prime Minister made the announcement two days before the end of 28 days deadline given to present a coalition.
Netanyahu, 70, broke the news of returning the mandate to Rivlin in a video message published on his official Facebook page.
"Ever since receiving the mandate [to form a government] I have worked relentlessly to establish a broad national unity government. This is what the people want," the premier said.
However, my efforts to "bring Gantz to the negotiation table and prevent another election" have failed as the Kahol Lavan (Gantz's Blue and White party) leader "refused time after time".
Gantz, 60, responded to the announcement on Twitter saying, "It's Kahol Lavan time."
Kahol Lavan's co-leader, Yair Lapid, a former journalist, responded
saying, "Bibi (Netanyahu's nickname) failed once more. It's a serial thing".
"The time for spins is over, now is the time for actions. Kahol Lavan is determined to form a liberal national unity government headed by Benny Gantz, for which the people voted last month," a statement by the party said.