03:38 GMT +313 December 2019
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    A man walks by election campaign billboards showing Israeli Prime Minister and head of the Likud party Benjamin Netanyahu, left, alongside the Blue and White party leaders, from left to right, Moshe Yaalon, Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid and Gabi Ashkenazi, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, April 7, 2019. Hebrew on billboards reads, left Strong Likud strong Israel on the right Every vote matters, win Blue and White. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

    Israeli Parliament Head Summons Blue And White, Likud to Discuss Forming Unity Government

    © AP Photo / Oded Balilty
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    TEL AVIV (Sputnik) - Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein said on Wednesday that he had asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz, the heads of the Likud party and Blue and White alliance, respectively, to send negotiators to consultations for forming a national unity government.

    "Everyone understands that Israel is in the midst of a governmental state of emergency which may result in economic and social collapse," Edelstein was quoted as saying on the Knesset website.

    He noted that of special concern was the return of election slogans, "too quickly" after Israel has already held two inconclusive snap votes in six months.

    "Therefore, I contacted the two major party leaders today and asked them to instruct the negotiating teams to meet with me here, tonight, in my office, for a final attempt to form a government and avoid elections. I am pleased to announce that my appeal has been positively met by the two leaders and tonight, the attempt to restore sanity to Israel will begin," Edelstein said.

    Last Thursday, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin ordered the Knesset to form a coalition government within 21 days as Netanyahu and Gantz had failed to do so.

    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
    © AFP 2019 / GIL COHEN-MAGEN
    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

    Under Israeli law, lawmakers have until 11 December to unite into a coalition under the parliamentarian who will then be announced prime minister. If that does not happen, Israel will convene an unprecedented third consecutive snap vote.

    The first general election in April saw Netanyahu winning the vote but falling short of an outright majority to form a government. The second election in September had Gantz pull slightly ahead but again fail to secure a parliamentary majority.

    Tags:
    Benny Gantz, Benjamin Netanyahu, elections, Israel
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