In Israel, the political stalemate that began after the first April poll could continue. As the deadline for Benny Gantz to form a government draws to a close, the former general demanded on Saturday, April 11, "A two-week extension to Reuven Rivlin" to assemble political forces with his former rival, the outgoing Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. According to a statement by Bleu Blanc, his coalition, Benny Gantz justified his request by recalling that Israel is crossing "A social and health crisis" with the epidemic of the new coronavirus.
"I believe that we are close to signing an agreement, and this additional time should allow us to finalize it", Benny Gantz wrote to President Reuven Rivlin, who has yet to give an answer.
Benny Gantz was mandated almost four weeks ago by Reuven Rivlin to form a coalition after the March 2 general election, the third in less than a year in the country.
Without a clear deal to secure the necessary parliamentary majority among the anti-Netanyahu bloc, the former Israeli military chief was elected speaker of parliament on March 29 after joining the outgoing prime minister in an unexpected turnaround. Negotiations on both sides, however, failed, and the ultimatum left to Benny Gantz expires overnight Sunday through Monday at midnight.
Netanyahu's Likud (right) said the Prime Minister had invited Benny Gantz and his negotiators for talks " tonight " (Saturday), highlighting the "National will and responsibility to form a unity government as soon as possible". Bleu Blanc replied that these discussions would not take place "By interposed media".
Netanyahu has repeatedly called for the formation of a unity and emergency government, successively led by him and Mr. Gantz. But the latter kept saying that he refused to be part of a government led by Mr. Netanyahu, accused of corruption.