WORLD Israeli PM, challenger meet in president's bid to form unity gov't amid deadlock


Israeli PM, challenger meet in president's bid to form unity gov't amid deadlock


06:39, September 24, 2019


Israeli President Reuven Rivlin speaks during a consultation meeting with members of the Likud party, in Jerusalem, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. (Photo: AP)

JERUSALEM, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Israel's two main victors of the country's closely-fought elections met on Monday night in a meeting brokered by the president in a bid to overcome a post-election political stalemate.

Broadcasts on Israel's main TV channels showed the beginning of the trilateral meeting at the President's House in Jerusalem, attended by President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and his main challenger, Blue and White party chairman Benny Gantz.

Under Israeli law, after last week's do-over elections, the president should have appointed as prime minister the candidate he believes has the best chance of forming the next government. But the voting yielded inconclusive results, leading Rivlin to call for a unity government.

"There is one thing the people are largely untied over and that is the desire that there won't be third elections," Rivlin said in a statement earlier on Monday.

In the voting on Tuesday, Blue and White won 33 seats, becoming the largest faction in the parliament. Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party won 31 seats, casting doubts on the ruling of Israel's longest-serving prime minister.

Both parties did not win enough votes to form a majority government in the 120-seat parliament. Rivlin has called for a unity government, but both leaders claim they will lead the new government.

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