Israeli opposition leader passes deadline to form government

Israel’s opposition leader, Benny Gantz, has failed to form a coalition government after talks with Benjamin Netanyahu stalled, pushing the country further towards an unprecedented fourth round of elections.

Gantz had until midnight on Wednesday to build a majority government and now loses the mandate given to him by the president, Reuven Rivlin.

His failure does not automatically trigger fresh elections. Before that occurs, there will be a 21-day period in which the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, can vote to nominate any candidate to be prime minister.

“I hope that the Knesset members will be able to form a majority in such a way that a government can be formed as soon as possible, and to prevent a fourth round of elections,” Rivlin wrote in a letter to Gantz on Thursday.