Israel’s president begins talks to form new government

Jerusalem, Apr 5 (efe-epa).- Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Monday began talks with party leaders to decide who is best positioned to form a government following last month’s elections, the fourth time the country has gone to the polls in the last two years.

The right-wing party the Likud and centrist Yesh Atid recommended Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Yair Lapid, respectively.

“I do not see a way in which a government can be established,” Rivlin said during the round of talks, expressing pessimism about a split between blocs.

The Labor Party recommended Lapid, and the ultra-Orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism gave their support to Netanyahu.

Rivlin is set to receive the rest of the recommendations from the 13 groups represented in the parliament to form a government in the first series of meetings planned in the course of the day.

He will then decide on Wednesday which party leader has the mandate to try and do so within 28 days, which can be extended by 14 days.

Netanyahu, whose party got the most votes in March 23 elections, with 30 seats, is expected to receive the most recommendations to get the task.

There are 120 seats in the Knesset, which means 61 are needed for a majority.

Netanyahu and his right-wing and religious alliance won 52 seats, and the anti-Netanyahu opposition bloc, 57.

The unaligned right-wing Yamina, with seven seats, and the Islamist Arab party Raam, with four, have become the keys to the formation of a government.

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