Netanyahu gets more time to form new Israeli government

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday received more time to put together a new coalition government, after the initial 28 days granted to him following last month’s elections expired.

Israeli law says that after the first four weeks of political bargaining a further 14 days is granted by the president on request.

Netanyahu on Monday called on President Reuven Rivlin at his official Jerusalem residence and received his official blessing.

“At the end of the meeting, the president acceded to the prime minister’s request and granted him a further two weeks to form a government,” a statement from the presidency said in English.

Netanyahu’s Likud party won 35 seats in the April 9 general election, with most parties represented in the 120-seat parliament recommending that he form the next governing coalition.

On April 17 Rivlin formally tasked him with the mission.

Such negotiations generally run close to the wire as parties seek to extract the maximum in cabinet portfolios and other forms of political clout.

Netanyahu on Sunday told cabinet ministers that this time there had been outside influences on the progress of talks, citing public and religious holidays and a Gaza flare-up.

The emerging coalition is expected to include the 16 members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties as well as the far-right national religious union, Avigdor Lieberman’s nationalistic Israel Beitenu and the center-right Kulanu.

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