Netanyahu Tasked With First Attempt At Forming Govt

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin tapped Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form the next government, setting off weeks of political jockeying as the incumbent tries to maintain his hold on power. Mr. Rivlin’s announcement came as talks between Mr. Netanyahu and rival Benny Gantz to form a broad unity government after last week’s inconclusive election have failed to make progress.

The president met again with Messrs. Gantz and Netanyahu on Wednesday to try to pressure them into reaching a power-sharing pact. Israel’s Central Elections Committee on Wednesday released the final results of the Sept. 17 vote, in which Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud party won 32 seats and Mr. Gantz’s Blue and White party won 33 seats in the 120-member parliament, the Knesset.

But Mr. Netanyahu won the the pledges of 55 members to be prime minister, while Mr. Gantz garnered 54. The coalition discussions, which will now hinge on Mr. Netanyahu’s efforts to cobble together the 61 seats he needs for a majority government, are being clouded by the prime minister’s possible legal challenges.