Amid call for unity govt, Benjamin Netanyahu's rival Benny Gantz says he should be PM
With 98 per cent of the votes counted, Gantz's Blue and White party has won 33 seats while Netanyahu's Likud secured 31 seats in 120-member Israeli Parliament
Jerusalem: Benjamin Netanyahu's main rival Benny Gantz on Thursday presented himself as the next prime minister, hours after the embattled Israeli premier urged the Blue and White leader to join him in forming a unity government to avoid a third election.With 98 per cent of the votes counted, Gantz's Blue and White party has won 33 seats while Netanyahu's Likud secured 31 seats in 120-member Israeli Parliament. Netanyahu's bloc, comprised of right-wing and ultra-Orthodox parties, currently stands at 55 seats. The centre-left bloc has 57 seats.
President Reuven Rivlin will begin talks with the parties on Sunday to see who they might recommend to form the next government, a statement from his office said. The announcement came after Gantz, 60, said he intends to form and lead a "broad, liberal, unity government." "In order to form a unity government, one can't come with political blocs and spins," Gantz said, referring to the right-wing religious bloc's move to recommend Netanyahu as the next PM. "You come with responsibility and seriousness. I attend to act accordingly. There will be no shortcuts," Gantz said.
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