An election poster in favor of Benny Gantz, Benjamin Netanyahu's main rival, during the March legislative elections in 2020. - AFP

Benny Gantz, main rival of outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will be in charge of forming a government on Monday, the presidency announced on Sunday. During consultations led by the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, Benny Gantz received the support of a majority of deputies.

"The president will entrust the leader of the 'Bleu-Blanc' party Benny Gantz with the task of forming a government," the presidency said in a statement on Sunday after a series of talks with representatives of the parties elected to the legislative elections on March 2.

According to an AFP count, the centrist Benny Gantz garnered the support of 61 deputies, the threshold required to form a government, after Avidgor Lieberman, leader of the secular nationalist right-wing party Israel Beiteinou, recommended it to Of the president. The "United List" of Israeli Arab parties, the third force in parliament, also recommended it.

Benjamin Netanyahu, who was missing three votes to reach the majority of 61 deputies in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, had repeatedly called for the formation of an emergency government and national unity under his leadership. But after the previous elections in April and September 2019, Benny Gantz however refused to enter a government led by Benjamin Netanyahu because he is charged with embezzlement and breach of trust in three cases.

His trial, which was due to start on Tuesday, has been postponed for two months, "in view of the spread of the coronavirus and according to instructions limiting the work of the courts," the Jerusalem court announced on Sunday.


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