Zionist President Reuven Rivlin has rejected Blue and White leader Benny Gantz’s request for a two week extension to try to form a grand coalition government with Likud as the deadline to do so runs out on Monday at midnight.
Gantz requested the extension on Saturday, saying he needed more time to try to form the coalition. “The political, health and social crisis have brought me to the decision that even at a heavy political and personal price, I will do all I can to establish a government with the Likud,” Gantz wrote in a letter addressed to Rivlin which was published by Israeli media.
Rivlin’s office said Sunday that he made the decision not to extend the deadline after speaking to both, with Netanyahu reportedly telling him that Likud and Blue and White were nowhere close to an agreement.
Rivlin, who has previously shown signs of his annoyance over the deadlock, warned Sunday that if Netanyahu and Gantz couldn’t reach an agreement by Monday at midnight, “the task of forming the government will return to the Knesset and a period of 21 days will begin during which Knesset members can form a majority to recommend an agree-don candidate to form a government, who would have 14 days to do so.”