Israel: Netanyahu returns mandate to form government

JERUSALEM 

With his efforts since last month’s polls fruitless, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday returned the mandate to form a government to the president.

According to the Israeli media, Reuven Rivilin will now consult with the heads of Israeli parties to give the mandate to another candidate.

He is expected to give the mandate to Benny Gantz, leader of the rival Blue and White bloc.

Netanyahu, for his part, released a video Sunday accusing Gantz of refusing to negotiate with him over the possibility of forming a unity government.

He called on Gantz to “release himself from the grip” of Blue and White deputy head Yair Lapid and Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman and create a unity government.
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