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Netanyahu urges rival Gantz to form unity government with him

Leader of the Blue and White political alliance, former chief of staff of the Israeli army, Benny Gantz (L) and Revital Gantz (R) cast their votes during the Israeli legislative elections, at a polling station in Rosh Haayin district of Tel Aviv, Israel on 17 September 2019. [Faiz Abu Rmeleh - Anadolu Agency]
Leader of the Blue and White political alliance, former chief of staff of the Israeli army, Benny Gantz (L) and Revital Gantz (R) cast their votes during the Israeli legislative elections, at a polling station in Rosh Haayin district of Tel Aviv, Israel on 17 September 2019. [Faiz Abu Rmeleh - Anadolu Agency]

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Thursday on his main rival, former general Benny Gantz, to join him in a broad, governing coalition after Israel’s election ended with no clear winner, Reuters reports.

A spokeswoman for Gantz, leader of the centrist Blue and White party, had no immediate response to the surprise offer from Netanyahu, head of the right-wing Likud party.

The change of strategy reflected Netanyahu’s weakened position after he failed again in Tuesday’s election, which followed an inconclusive ballot in April, to secure a parliamentary majority.

READ: Could Netanyahu be on the way out?

“During the election campaign, I called for the establishment of a right-wing government but to my regret, the election results show that this is impossible,” Netanyahu said.

“Benny, we must set up a broad unity government, as soon as today. The nation expects us, both of us, to demonstrate responsibility and that we pursue cooperation.”

On Wednesday, Gantz said he hoped for a “good, desirable unity government”. But he has also ruled out forming one with a Netanyahu-led Likud, citing looming corruption charges against the prime minister. Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing.

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