Israeli president Reuvin Rivlin kicks off talks to pick Prime Ministerial candidate

Updated: Sep 23, 2019, 07:34 IST | Agencies

That appears to be the emerging compromise between Blue and White and Likud, though both are insisting upon leading it. Complicating matters is Blue and White's refusal to sit with Netanyahu because he faces a likely indictment on corruption charges

Reuven Rivlin. Pic/AFP
Reuven Rivlin. Pic/AFP

Jerusalem: Israeli President Reuven Rivlin began two days of crucial talks on Sunday with party leaders before selecting his candidate for prime minister, after a deadlocked repeat election was set to make forming any new government a daunting task.

Israel's largely ceremonial president is tasked with picking the politician with the best chance of forming a stable coalition government. While usually a mere formality, this time Rivlin plays a key role after an election result in which neither of the top candidates has an outright majority.

"The president, in this case, will be very, very involved in the particulars. He will ask for clear answers," Harel Tubi, the president's top aide, told Israel's Army Radio. "I think he'll turn the consultations this time into consultations that have the ability to present other possibilities, of the sort that the public hasn't heard about yet."

In last week's vote, Benny Gantz's centrist Blue and White party won 33 seats in the 120-member parliament, while incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu's conservative Likud took 31 seats.

The deciding factor looks to be Avigdor Lieberman and the eight seats his Yisrael Beitenu party captured. Lieberman is demanding a broad unity government with the two major parties that is secular and excludes the ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties.

That appears to be the emerging compromise between Blue and White and Likud, though both are insisting upon leading it. Complicating matters is Blue and White's refusal to sit with Netanyahu because he faces a likely indictment on corruption charges.

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