Israel: Benjamin Netanyahu calls on Benny Gantz for unity government after election deadlock

Benjamin Netanyahu Benny Gantz unity government

Benjamin Netanyahu has called on his main political rival, Benny Gantz, to form a unity government with him. The Israeli prime minister made the offer after a second general election failed to produce a clear winner.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has proposed forming a governing coalition with his main challenger, former general Benny Gantz, saying the election results had left no other choice.

In a video message, Netanyahu conceded there was no way he would be able to form a right-wing government after a second general election this week ended in deadlock.

“During the elections, I called for the establishment of a right-wing government,” Netanyahu said. “But, unfortunately, the election results show that this is not possible.”

He said he opposed going to a third election and then urged Gantz of the centrist Blue and White party to form a “broad unity government today.”

He also called on Gantz to meet him later Thursday.

Tuesday’s election marked the first time Israel has held two votes in one year. The ballot was called after Netanyahu failed to win enough votes to form a coalition in elections in April. The 69-year-old head of the right-wing Likud party and Israel’s longest-serving leader is also facing corruption charges, although he denies wrongdoing.

Gantz on Wednesday backed the idea of a “good, desirable unity government,” but he has previously ruled out entering into one with Likud, citing the corruption allegations against Netanyahu.

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