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Israel's Benny Gantz Rules Out Joining Government With Prime Minister Facing 'Severe Indictment'

© AP Photo / Ariel SchalitThe opening session of the Knesset
The opening session of the Knesset - Sputnik International
This comes after Netanyahu's Likud party received 32 seats in the 120-member Knesset and its major rival, the Blue and White party, received 33, bringing the country to another political deadlock after the second national elections this year.

The leader of Israel's Blue and White Party, Benny Gantz, has ruled out joining a government with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying that the Likud leader faces a 'serious indictment.'

"Blue and White led by me will not agree to sit in a government with a leader against whom stands a severe indictment," Gantz said in a statement.

Earlier on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was tasked to form a new government.

This came following a joint meeting between President Rivlin, Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz.

Mr Netanyahu will have 28 days to form a government, with a possible two-week extension, according to the announcement. 

The results of the 17 September elections show that Gantz's Blue and White party got 33 seats in the Knesset, while Netanyahu's Likud had 32. But crucially, the latter received the endorsement of 55 members of parliament for the post of prime minister, while Gantz was able to muster just 54.

Israelis went to the polls on 17 September for the second time after Netanyahu failed to form a government following the 9 April election.

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