Benny Gantz, leader of the center-left Blue and White party, on Thursday rejected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s offer to form a government.
In the first party meeting since Tuesday’s parliamentary elections, Gantz said he is now the leader of the largest party in Israel.
“I want to establish a broad and liberal unity government headed by me to bring about the will of the people of Israel,” he said
Responding to Netanyahu’s call for a unity government, he said: “You don’t approach establishing a unity government with blocs and spins.”
Netanyahu said it is impossible to form a unity government without a meeting between the two major party leaders.
“I was disappointed that at this time Benny Gantz still refuses to meet,” Netanyahu said.
Earlier on Thursday, Netanyahu called Gantz to form a unity government, according to Israeli local media reports.
The move came after it became clear that the right-wing parties have no majority to form the next Israeli government.
On Wednesday, he met with the leaders of religious right-wing parties Yamina, Shas and United Torah Judaism to negotiate as one bloc.
Israeli election committee is expected to announce the final results Thursday evening.
With 90% of the votes counted, Israel’s center-left Blue and White party is projected to win the parliamentary elections with 32 seats, edging ahead of Netanyahu’s Likud party at 31 seats.
The Arab bloc (Israeli Arabs) was able to win 13 seats.
The right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party of former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman bagged nine seats.
Voter turnout stood at 63.1%, according to the election committee.
Israel held its second general elections this year, due to Netanyahu’s failure to form a government after the previous poll. Observers expect there may be a third round of elections if the crisis continues.
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