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Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has tasked opposition leader Benny Grants to form a new government dealing a blow to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political ambitions. Gantz has vowed to form a unity coalition government within the next few days amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Israeli opposition leader to form a coalition government

The former army chief called on Netanyahu to join him in forming a government of unity. By Sunday, around 61 legislators out of the 120 parliamentary legislators had offered their support for the leader of the Blue and White Party in consultation with President Rivlin.

Rivlin gave the opposition leader 28 days to assemble a ruling coalition with the option of an extension of two weeks.  Gantz said during the nomination ceremony that he will do his best to form a government in the next few days, and it will be an inclusive government. Some of the backers of Gantz include an electoral coalition of four Palestinian parties, the Joint List, and the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party led by Avigdor Lieberman. This makes it challenging to form a government without broad support.

Netanyahu proposes the formation of emergence government to address COVID-19

Israel has been into three inconclusive elections in the last one year with Netanyahu declaring victory in the latest poll on March 2nd after his part clinched only 36 seats. Netanyahu and Lieberman are proposing a national emergency government for six months, grouping the Likud party and the Blue and White party to address the coronavirus situation. 

Supporters of Netanyahu are holding that he is the best-suited leader to lead the country amid the COVID-19 crisis, but rivals are against some questioning his motives. So far, around 250 cases have been reported in Israel with several people in self-quarantine.

In September last year, Gantz and Netanyahu failed to reach an agreement with Gantz, insisting that he wanted to serve as the first prime minister in a revolving leadership arrangement. Netanyahu was indicted last year on charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery in three separate cases.