JERUSALEM, (Rahnuma): Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin announced Monday that he has accepted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s request for a two-week extension until May 28 to form his new government, following the general elections held on April 9.
The Likud party headed by Netanyahu, and Blue-White party, headed by former Army Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, earned each 35 of the 120 seats in the Israeli parliament (the Knesset), despite the tied results, Rivlin nominated Netanyahu to form the next government.
According to Israeli law, the president must impose the task on the party’s leader who has the best chance of forming a government, even if it is not the largest party.
The Israeli right-wing parties, including the Likud, won 65 Knesset seats in total, so Netanyahu will be able to form a majority coalition. The rest, center-left parties, won only 55 seats in total.
Netanyahu has been given by law 28 days to form the government, as Rivlin granted him with the task on April 17. The president can extend this period for an additional period of up to 14 days.
In his official letter to the president, Netanyahu wrote that there had been significant progress in negotiations with the various parties, but due to the tight schedule, which included the recent fighting in Gaza, holidays and memorial days, he needed another 14 days.