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Netanyahu says he can't form a government after election deadlock

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference in Jerusalem.   -  
Menahem Kahana
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TEL AVIV — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that he could not form a new government after President Reuven Rivlin asked himto try in the wake of a deadlocked election.

Netanyahu's decision to cut short his efforts leaves the country's political future — and his own — uncertain.

He made the announcement in a Facebook posting, according to the Haaretz newspaper.

The opportunity to form a stable government will now likely fall to his rival Benny Gantz, who leads the main opposition Blue and White party.

After inconclusive election results left him short of the governing majority needed to extend his decade-long hold on Israeli politics, Netanyahu's right-wing Likud Party entered talks to form a national unity government with the centrist Blue and White.

But those talks appear to have gone nowhere.

Gantz — who is a former army chief of staff — has publicly resisted the idea of allying with Netanyahu, citing looming corruption charges against him.

Paul Goldman reported from Tel Aviv, and Max Burman from London.

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