Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin invited Benjamin Netanyahu and his election rival ex-Military General Benny Gantz for closed-door talks on Monday, to decide on the new prime minister, and find a way out of the current political deadlock.
Rivlin recommended forming a governing coalition that includes both Gantz’s Blue and White and Netanyahu’s Likud parties.
Rivlin also held two-day talks with political parties since the Arab bloc in the parliament decided to endorse Gantz as the next prime minister, in a clear attempt to oust the long-time prime minister from power. It is the first time in nearly three decades for the Arab parties to back a candidate for PM.
Ayman Odeh, the Joint List chairperson, said they decided to endorse Gantz to end Netanyahu’s era.
The Joint List, a bloc of four Arab parties, won 13 seats in the election, Netanyahu’s party won 31 seats, while Gantz Blue and White won 33. Any prime minister needs a majority of 61 seats in parliament to form a government.
The September election is the second in five months as Netanyahu failed to form a coalition following April’s election.
Netanyahu has been in power since 2009, besides another term from 1996 to 1999. He still faces charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in three cases pending a final hearing.