Israel’s president on Sunday said he has decided to give opposition leader Benny Gantz the first opportunity to form a new government following an inconclusive national election in March.
President Reuven Rivlin’s office announced his decision after consulting with leaders of all of the parties elected to parliament.
The decision raises questions about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political future.
Netanyahu’s Likud emerged as the largest party in the March 2 election, Israel’s third in under a year. But with his smaller religious and nationalist allies, he received the support of only 58 lawmakers during Sunday’s consultations, leaving Likud three seats short of the required majority in parliament.
Gantz’s Blue and White received the support of parties representing 61 seats, a slim majority. However, those parties are also divided, and it is not clear whether Gantz will succeed in putting together a coalition.
Rivlin said he would formally designate Gantz, a former general, with the task on Monday.
“Tomorrow, around midday, the president will assign the task of forming the government to head of (Blue and White party) Benny Gantz,” Rivlin’s office said in a statement.
Once formally tapped, Gantz will now have a month to cobble together a governing coalition.