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Israeli president hands Gantz chance to form gov't

By AFP - Mar 15,2020 - Last updated at Mar 15,2020

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Israel's President Reuven Rivlin will on Monday formally ask Benny Gantz to try to form the country's next government, after the ex-military chief secured recommendations from a majority of lawmakers.

"Tomorrow, around midday, the president will assign the task of forming the government to [the] head of Kachol Lavan... Benny Gantz," Rivlin's office said in a statement Sunday, using the Hebrew name for Gantz's centrist Blue and White party.

An official tally from Rivlin's office said 61 lawmakers recommended Gantz, with 58 supporting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after a third general election in less than a year held on March 2. Israel's parliament, the Knesset, is comprised of 120 seats.

But there is no guarantee that the disparate forces who supported Gantz on Sunday will agree terms on a stable coalition, something that proved impossible following the two inconclusive elections last year.

On top of support from Blue and White and a smaller centre-left alliance, Gantz was also recommended by the mainly Arab Joint List and the secular, nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party.

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