Deadline looms to form government in Israel

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.

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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)

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Augustine Aminu

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