The Latest: Israel’s president: Coalition talks start Sunday
JERUSALEM (AP) — The Latest on the Israeli election (all times local):
Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, says he will begin consultations Sunday with all of the parties elected to parliament.
Rivlin’s announcement Thursday is the first step toward what officials hope will be the formation of a new government after elections this week.
Under Israeli law, the president meets with leaders of each party, who recommend to him who they think should be prime minister.
Rivlin then chooses the politician he thinks has the best chance of forming a stable coalition. The prime minister designate gets six weeks to form a government.
Rivlin faces a difficult task. Neither of the two largest parties, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud and challenger Benny Gantz’s Blue and White, have a clear path to a majority.
The consultations are expected to last two days.
Israelis are coming to grips with an uncertain political future two days after an election that left the country’s two main political parties deadlocked and with no clear path to a coalition government.
With nearly 95 percent of votes counted Thursday, the Blue and White party stood at 33 seats in Israel’s 120-seat Parliament. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud stood at 32 seats. But with the election’s apparent kingmaker, Avigdor Lieberman, insisting on a secular government between the two, and Blue and White refusing to sit in such a coalition with Netanyahu still heading Likud, it was unclear what the way forward may be.
Israel’s president will consult in the coming days with all parties before selecting the candidate he believes has the best chance of forming a stable coalition.