President invites premier Netanyahu to form govt

TEL AVIV: A sceptical president invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday to form a new government, after another inconclusive election deepened political stalemate in Israel.
The country’s longest-serving leader, in power consecutively since 2009, now faces the tough challenge of enlisting enough allies for a governing coalition.
Under law, Netanyahu will have 28 days to do so, with the possibility of a two-week extension before President Reuven Rivlin picks another candidate or asks parliament to choose one. Continued deadlock could ultimately result in a new election.
Announcing on television his choice of Netanyahu, Rivlin cast doubt on his prospects for success and on whether any other prospective candidate could complete the task.
“To my great regret, I have the impression that none of the candidates, at this stage, has a real chance of putting together a government, one that would win a confidence vote in parliament,” Rivlin said. He noted that he was legally bound to make the nomination nonetheless.
Israel’s election on March 23, its fourth in two years, ended with neither a Netanyahu-led right-wing and religious bloc nor a prospective alliance of his opponents capturing a parliamentary majority.
— Reuters