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Netanyahu, Gantz hold coalition talks amid political stalemate in Israel


ANI Middle East
Israel's longest-serving leader Benjamin Netanyahu and his main rival and Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz met here on Sunday in a fresh bid to break the political stalemate and prevent an unprecedented scenario of a third parliamentary election in less than a year.
The coalition talks between Netanyahu and Gantz was the first after the latter received the mandate from Israeli President Reuven Rivlin last week to form a new government.
It came after neither of the two parties was able to secure a majority in the 120-member Knesset (Parliament) during last month's national polls, Jerusalem Post reported.
Spokespersons of Likud and Blue and White parties said that the meeting was based on possible political frameworks and the two leaders plan to meet again soon.
Earlier on Sunday, Netanyahu said that Israel needs a government with "wide shoulders" that is able to make "hard decisions" amid rising security threats in the region.
Gantz will now have a 28-day window to try and form a government. If he fails, Israel could be forced into the unprecedented scenario of a third election in less than a year.
Last week, Netanyahu had announced that he was giving up on efforts to form a new government after failing to form a coalition government.
Netanyahu, who heads the right-wing Likud party and faces potential indictment in three corruption cases, had hoped to establish a broad "unity" government with Gantz.
Meanwhile, the Blue and White Party had said in a statement that it was determined to "form the liberal unity government that the people of Israel voted for".
In the September general elections, Gantz's centrist Blue and White won 33 seats while Netanyahu's Likud won 32 seats out of a total 120 seats in the Knesset.

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First Published: Oct 28 2019 | 5:47 AM IST

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