POST TIME: 19 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Israel’s Gantz races to form government
AFP, Jerusalem

Israel’s Gantz races to form government

After weeks of talks over a new Israeli government have gone around in circles, Benjamin Netanyahu’s rival Benny Gantz had just two days left yesterday to form a coalition and become prime minister.

Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party and Gantz’s centrist Blue and White coalition achieved near parity in September’s repeat elections, but even with allied parties both fell short of the 61 seats needed to form a majority in parliament.

Netanyahu was first given 28 days to form a coalition government but failed, so President Reuven Rivlin granted Gantz a similar timeframe.

It is due to expire at 11:59 pm on Wednesday, and the former army chief has been engaged in a negotiation blitz in a bid to avoid a third general election in a year.

Polls in April also led to a stalemate in a political system reliant on coalition building.

Gantz’s task may have been further complicated by a flareup between Israel and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip last week, as his potential premiership likely rests on Arab support in parliament.

Gantz has been desperately trying to convince Avigdor Lieberman, head of the nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party, to join his coalition.