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

Retired Israeli General Benny Gantz, leader and candidate of the Israel Resilience party that is part of the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) political alliance, gives a statement and toast for Rosh Hashanah to reporters in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv, on September 26, 2019.
JACK GUEZ | AFP | Getty Images

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 September's election, told Rivlin on Monday he was giving up on forming the government after failing to win support from a majority of parliament.

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Israel's Netanyahu gives up on forming new coalition

Key Points
  • In a statement, Netanyahu said he had worked "tirelessly" to establish a unity government with his chief rival, former military chief Benny Gantz, but been repeatedly rebuffed.
  • Facing a Wednesday deadline, Netanyahu said he was returning the "mandate" to President Reuven Rivlin, who will now ask Gantz to try to form a coalition.
  • In last month's national election, Netanyahu fell short of securing a 61-seat parliamentary majority.