If Netanyahu fails to form a government, Israel is set on a path for its third election with its government in a deep-seated deadlock.
Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu has a tough few weeks ahead - on both a personal and political level.
Not only does the veteran leader have just 28 days to assemble a governing coalition after inconclusive elections on 17 September, but he also faces indictment on corruption allegations.
Israel's President Reuven Rivlin has chosen Netanyahu to form a government, despite the fact that his Likud party won one less seat in parliament than its major rival, the Blue and White coalition.
Some social media users questioned why it was Netanyahu and not Blue and White's Benny Gantz that Rivlin selected, but the president does not just consider how many votes a party receives - rather how many seats a leader can accumulate in order to secure a majority of 61 in Israel's 120-seat Knesset.
“Netanyahu’s ability to assemble an administration is higher at the moment,” Rivlin said.
While Gantz has managed to put together 54 seats, Netanyahu has managed 55. At the same time, 10 of the lawmakers who back Gantz are from Israel's Arab-majority Joint List, who will support him but will not join a government. Given that, Rivlin said, Netanyahu has more of a chance of getting a deal.
Although the two leaders had considered a government of national unity, Gantz ruled out serving with a prime minister - or a co-prime minister - who is facing serious criminal charges.
If Netanyahu fails to form a government, Israel is on a path for its third election in a year.
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