Netanyahu nominated to try forming Israel's next government

Netanyahu nominated to try forming Israel's next government
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Israeli President Reuven Rivlin nominated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE to try forming Israel's next government, according to The New York Times.

Rivlin's decision Wednesday comes after a Sept. 17 election ended in a virtual tie between Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, with neither acquiring enough votes to win by simple majority.

After the election, Rivlin urged the two leaders to create a broad unity government that included both Netanyahu's conservative Likud party and Gantz's centrist Blue and White party. The two parties convened Tuesday but were unable to come to an agreement.

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Netanyahu must secure 61 seats in Parliament in 28 days to succeed, a task he failed to do in May which led to the September election. The parties that have endorsed the Israeli leader hold 55 seats, according to the Times.

A key factor in whether Israel's longest-serving prime minister will be able to form a government in time is nationalist Avigdor Lieberman, who won eight seats in the special election. 

If Netanyahu fails once again to assemble a government, Rivlin could grant him a 14-day extension, the newspaper reported.

Alternatively, Rivlin could hand the task to Gantz, who would have 28 days of his own to assemble a government, but Gantz, who won 54 votes in the special election, faces a similar uphill battle to the coveted 61 votes.