Israeli President Asks Knesset to Pick New Prime Minister as Talks Between Gantz and Netanyahu Go On

© AFP 2022 / Gil Cohen-MagenIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R), Israeli president of the Supreme Court Esther Hayut (C) and Benny Gantz (L), leader of Blue and White party, attend a memorial ceremony for late Israeli president Shimon Peres, at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem on September 19, 2019
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R), Israeli president of the Supreme Court  Esther Hayut (C) and Benny Gantz (L), leader of Blue and White party, attend a memorial ceremony for late Israeli president Shimon Peres, at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem on September 19, 2019 - Sputnik International
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After three elections in a year Israeli political forces still can't reach a consensus to form a new government with none of the nation's political parties and existing alliances able to gain a majority in the country's parliament, the Knesset.

Early on 16 Apriil, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin announced that he had tasked Knesset members with picking a new head of government. He expressed hope that a political majority emerges in the legislative body to make the choice soon and thus prevent the country from heading to a fourth general election in less than two years.

Rivlin made his announcement the day after the mandate to form the government, which he gave to the head of the Blue and White Alliance Benny Gantz, expired after a 48-hour extension. Gantz used the extension for a last-ditch effort to strike an agreement to form a unity government with Benjamin Netanyahu and his party Likud.

The sides conducted talks for 11 straight hours on 15 April, but failed to overcome their disagreements with the appointment of judiciary officials being the last stumbling block on their path to the deal. The sides continuing talking even though Gantz's mandate has expired.

Netanyahu's Indictments in Way of Forming Government

Likud and Blue and White Alliance held talks in the wake of previous elections as well, but Gantz ruled out the possibility of a unity government with Netanyahu as the prime minister citing the criminal indictments against him. The head of the Blue and White Alliance walked back his position after the latest election citing the need to form a government to address the issue of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Israel's Prime Minister and leader of the Likud Party Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he delivers a statement in the Israeli central city of Petah Tikva on March 7, 2020.  - Sputnik International
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The current roadblock in Likud and the Blue and White Alliance's talks concerning the appointment of judiciary officials comes as caretaker Prime Minister Netanyahu continues to face criminal charges for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in three separate cases. He is suspected of receiving valuable gifts and trying to broker favourable coverage in the Israeli media in exchange for political favours. The prime minister denies the accusations against him and has even called the charges a coup attempt.

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