Israeli President Gives Benny Gantz Mandate to Form New Government

© AP Photo / Dan BaliltyFormer IDF Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz
Former IDF Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz - Sputnik International
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TEL AVIV (Sputnik) - Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday officially entrusted Blue and White alliance chairman Benny Gantz with the task of forming a new government.
"During consultations with party representatives, 54 lawmakers supported Benny Gantz to form a government. Therefore, today I give him the mandate to form a government coalition ... There is little time left and we are facing serious challenges," Rivlin said at an official ceremony broadcast by Israeli television.
© AP Photo / Dan BaliltyIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, speaks with Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, during a graduation ceremony of navy officers in the northern port city of Haifa, Israel, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013
Israeli President Gives Benny Gantz Mandate to Form New Government - Sputnik International
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, speaks with Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, during a graduation ceremony of navy officers in the northern port city of Haifa, Israel, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013
"There are no excuses and serious reasons to hold the third election", the president stressed and wished Gantz good luck in forming the government.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier handed back the mandate to Rivlin after he failed to form a majority coalition within a 28-day deadline, which was granted to him after the 17 September general election.

In the vote, Blue and White won 33 seats, while Likud came in second place with 32. Gantz has refused to enter coalition talks with the prime minister, leading to another deadlock in the Knesset.

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