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Netanyahu rival Gantz to be named to try to form next Israeli government

File photo: Benny Gantz. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Israel Oct 23, 2019, 10.26 AM (IST)

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin will on Wednesday task centrist politician Benny Gantz with trying to form the next coalition government after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed, Rivlin's office said on Tuesday.

Netanyahu, a fourth-term conservative whose party tied with Gantz's in a September election, told Rivlin on Monday (October 21) that he was giving up on forming the government after failing to win support from a majority of parliament.

For the first time in a decade, someone other than Netanyahu will be asked to form a government in Israel.

The 70-year-old prime minister has called two elections this year, has twice been given the chance by the president to put together a ruling coalition and has twice failed.

Rivlin will on Wednesday turn to Gantz, leaving Netanyahu even more vulnerable in his fight for political survival.

But although he has failed, Gantz - a former general and political novice - also has no clear path to success.

Gantz's Blue and White party said in a statement it was "determined to form a liberal unity government."

Netanyahu, in power for the past decade and 13 years in total, has seen his political strength wane as he faces a looming indictment on corruption allegations he denies. Gantz, a former military chief, has pledged not to serve in a government under a premier facing criminal charges.

Likud placed second in the September ballot with 32 seats in the 120-member parliament, behind 33 for Blue and White.

Story highlights

Netanyahu, a fourth-term conservative whose party tied with Gantz's in a September election, told Rivlin on Monday that he was giving up on forming the government after failing to win support from a majority of parliament.