Jerusalem: After preliminary attempts to negotiate a unity coalition between Benjamin Netanyahu and his main rival Benny Gantz failed, Israel's President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday tasked Netanyahu with forming a new government in the country.
The elections held last week failed to produce a clear path to form a government for either Netanyahu or Gantz, leading to the intervention of President Rivlin to get both leaders work together.
After a meeting with two leaders on Wednesday ended with no breakthrough, Rivlin acted quickly to get the formal process of coalition-building underway, reported CNN.
Adding that Benjamin Netanyahu's chance of forming a government is higher, Rivlin said: "The decision to give the mandate [to Netanyahu] was based on the question of who has the better chance of forming a government."
Stating that Israel does not want more elections, the President urged Netanyahu and all potential coalition allies to reach an agreement.
It is the second time this year Netanyahu has been asked to form a government after he failed in April to put together the required 61-seat coalition. Rather than allowing any other member of parliament the opportunity to try to form a new government, Netanyahu triggered new elections in the country.
The 69-year-old leader will now have four weeks to form a coalition and can ask the President for a two-week extension if required. If he fails, centrist Gantz of the Blue and White party will likely be given a chance.
In the recently held general elections, Gantz's centrist Blue and White party won 33 seats while Netanyahu's right-wing Likud won 32 seats out of a total 120 seats in the Knesset, Israel's parliament.
While Gantz received the endorsement of 54 members of parliament for the post of the Prime Minister, Netanyahu received the endorsement of 55 members.