The deadline to form a new government in Israel is set to run on Monday at midnight (2200 GMT).
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday rejected a request from Benny Gantz, leader of the country’s centrist Blue and White party, for more time amid the looming deadline. Gantz had asked for a two-week extension.
Forming a government has proved difficult after successive inconclusive elections in the divided country.
Rivlin informed Gantz that “in the current circumstance no extension to the period allocated to him for forming a government would be possible,” a statement from his office said Sunday.
Gantz is the main challenger to caretaker Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Blue and White and Netanyahu’s Likud had been inching closer to agreeing on a unity government ahead of the one-week Jewish Passover holiday that started on Wednesday, but ultimately didn’t clinch a deal.
Should no deal be reached by the deadline, the mandate for forming a government goes to Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. (dpa)