TEL AVIV, Israel – Israeli President Royne Rivlin on Wednesday eavesdropped on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud Right Party to form a new government after receiving the final results of last week's snap elections.
"The people of Israel do not want new elections," Rivlin said after handing over Netanyahu's mandate. "Countries will have to compromise."
Netanyahu now has 42 days to try to get a government together. If he fails to do so, the opportunity may pass to the next candidate, who the president thinks has the greatest chance of forming a government.
Israeli presidents are responsible for selecting candidates for prime minister after the election. The process is usually a formality, but it is much more complicated lately, as neither Netanyahu nor former three-star General Benny Ganz of the centrist blue-white party can build a stable parliamentary majority on its own.
The announcement followed negotiations to propose a unity government, with Gant and Netanyahu failing to reach an agreement.
"I know that the only way to form a government is unity," Netanyahu said, speaking after Rivlin. "We need unity to unite everyone and reconcile people."
Netanyahu said the country faces three obstacles: the Trump administration's economic, long-awaited peace plan and the ability to define and secure the country's borders.
The final results, published on Wednesday, saw the Likud party add an additional seat in Parliament, increasing its total to 32 from 1
For the second time in five months, Netanyahu failed to secure a clear election victory. To form a governing coalition in Israel, the candidate needs 61 seats from the 120-seat Knesset.
It is unclear what Natanyahu will offer MPs to support his coalition to reach 61 seats.
When Netanyahu failed to form a coalition, the government dissolved parliament in May, calling early elections last week, but it seems unlikely he will get the Knesset numbers to cast a third election.