Israel: Blue and White leader Benny Gantz concedes failure to form governing coalition

Tel Aviv [Israel], Nov 21 (ANI): Israel seemed to be headed for the third round of election under a year as the Blue and White leader Benny Gantz on Wednesday night informed President Reuven Rivlin that he had failed to form a governing coalition.

The Times of Israel reported that Gantz "conceded defeat" in a phone call with President, ahead of the midnight deadline, as the "unity talks with Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud and Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beytenu broke down."

Now, Israeli lawmakers have 21 days during which any 61 Knesset members can back any MK as prime minister failing which the country will go to third elections in under a year.

Earlier, Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman refused to support a minority government ether headed by Blue and White chief Benny Gantz or a right-wing government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"There is no chance. We will not join either a limited right- or left-wing government or a minority government. Whatever sort of government that would be, it would not survive and would not be able to function to do what is needed for the country," Liberman told the packed Yisrael Beytenu faction room in the Knesset.

"Who is to blame?" Liberman of Yisrael Beiteinu, a secular nationalist political party in Israel, continued. "Both [Gantz and Netanyahu]. Neither was willing to make dramatic decisions. Both played a double game. So in my opinion, both are to blame."

Netanyahu and Gantz had traded accusations on late Tuesday night in statements issued shortly after the conclusion of a one-hour meeting they had at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, in which efforts for a unity government appeared to break down.

The coalition talks between Netanyahu and Gantz initiated last month after the latter received the mandate from Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to form a new government.

It came after neither of the two parties was able to secure a majority in the 120-member Knesset (Parliament) during the national polls held in September. (ANI)