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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Netanyahu Rival Gantz Gets First Chance at Forming a New Israeli Government

By VOA News March 15, 2020

Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz will be given the first opportunity to form a new government, Israel's president said Sunday.

Gantz, the leader of Israel's Blue and White party, received 61 votes in the Knesset, mandating that President Reuven Rivlin allow Gantz to appoint a speaker from his party and begin pushing legislation.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party received the most votes in the early March elections – the third set of elections over the course of one year – but failed to receive the support of enough allies in parliament to give his party control.

Gantz will now have a month to form a coalition in the Knesset.

The decision comes as Netanyahu is due to face trial for corruption charges. But the prime minister has enacted emergency measures to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus – one of which is closing down the courts that would hear his trial.

In recent days, Netanyahu has called on Gantz to form an emergency or alliance government as the country battles the coronavirus outbreak. But Gantz refused.

Netanyahu's proposal included a measure that would allow him to remain prime minister for two more years.

During the election process, Gantz proposed measures that would make it illegal for a prime minister to continue to serve while under indictment.

Analysts say it will not be easy to pass that law quickly and it is not likely to affect the prime minister now.

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