After the parliamentary elections in Israel, the right-wing conservative head of government Benjamin Netanyahu has called for the formation of a grand coalition.
He called his challenger Benny Gantz from the Middle Alliance Blue and White to join a coalition with his Likud and rightwing and religious parties. He left open, however, who should lead such a coalition.
After the election on Tuesday blue-white had a wafer-thin majority before Netanyahu's Likud. After counting almost all the votes, Blau-Weiß gets 33 mandates, the Likud 31, as the news site ynet reported.
However, neither the right-wing nor the left-center camp has a majority of 61 out of 120 seats in parliament to form a government. According to media reports, the left-center camp with blue-white, the Labor Party, the Democratic Union and the United Arab Emirates list comes to 57 seats. The right-wing religious bloc with Netanyahu's conservative Likud, the Jamina party bloc under the leadership of ex-Justice Minister Ajelet Schaked and the rigor religious parties, receives 55 seats. The United Arab Emirates is the third strongest party in parliament with 13 seats.
Neither Gantz nor Lieberman want to govern with Netanyahu
On Wednesday evening, Netanyahu met the leaders of the right and religious parties and declared himself the spokesman for the 55-seat bloc.
"There is no choice but to form a broad unity government that consists of all the parties that the State of Israel cares about," Netanyahu said. "Benny, we have to set up a broad united government today!"
Gantz could become part of such a unity government in which the Likud is involved - but on condition of an internal party coup against Netanyahu.
Because with the long-term premier want to govern neither Gantz nor Avigdor Lieberman. As a reason, Gantz called the corruption allegations against Netanyahu. He has to face a hearing in two weeks, after which he faces charges in three cases.