Benjamin Netanyahu calls for unity government after election deadlock

Last Modified Thursday, 19 September 2019 (15:42 IST)
has called on his main political rival, Benny Gantz, to form a unity government with him. The Israeli prime minister made the offer after a second general election failed to produce a clear winner.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has proposed forming a governing coalition with his main challenger, former army general Benny Gantz, saying the election results had left no other choice.
 
In a video message, Netanyahu conceded there was no way he would be able to form a right-wing government after a second general election this week ended in deadlock.
 
"During the elections, I called for the establishment of a right-wing government," Netanyahu said. "But, unfortunately, the election results show that this is not possible."
 
He said he opposed going to a third election and then urged Gantz of the centrist party to form a "broad unity government today."
 
Gantz is set to make a statement on the possibility of a unity government later on Thursday, his office said. On Wednesday, he backed the idea of a "good, desirable unity government" but has previously ruled out entering into one with Netanyahu, who faces possible corruption charges. The 69-year-old, Israel's longest-serving leader, has denied any wrongdoing.
 
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who is responsible for approving the new government, welcomed Netanyahu's call for a broad coalition with his rival. 
 
Tuesday's election marked the first time has held two votes in one year. The ballot was called after Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party failed to win enough votes to form a coalition following elections in April.
 
While the official results of the repeat poll have not yet been announced, Israeli media have reported that the Blue and White party has 33 out of 120 parliamentary seats and Likud has 31. 
 
After the complete tally is in, Rivlin will meet with all parties voted into parliament before choosing someone to form a government.