Israel’s President Won’t Give Gantz More Time to Form Government

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin has rejected Benny Gantz’s request for a two-week extension to try to form the next government, according to a statement made by his spokesman on Sunday.

Rivlin made his decision after consulting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who “did not confirm” that his Likud and Gantz’s Blue and White parties are close to a power-sharing agreement. The parties have been in talks to join forces in order to fully empower Israel’s government in its efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

Gantz’s mandate expires at midnight on Monday, and should there be no government then, the president intends to allow parliament three weeks to decide who will have the next chance to build a coalition. If no one succeeds in forming a government the country will head to a fourth round of elections since April 2019.

The president, who has been pushing Netanyahu and Gantz to team up for months, will “reconsider his decision” should the two men jointly request an extension before the end of Monday, the statement said.