Israeli President Reuven Rivlin receives election results, offers unity plan for gov't

March 11 (UPI) — Israeli President Reuven Rivlin offered a plan Wednesday for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s Likud Party and Benny Gantz‘s Blue and White Party to form a coalition government after the election last week again failed to establish a clear majority.

Rivlin received the official results from the March 2 election on Wednesday and said he will meet this weekend with all eight parties that will form the 23rd Knesset. They will be sworn in on Monday.

Netanyahu’s party won 36 seats and its religious, conservative bloc won 58, three short of a majority needed to control the Knesset. Gantz’s party won 33 seats and the Arab-Israeli faction that comprises the Joint List won 15 seats, Wednesday’s official results showed.

Rivlin called for the Likud and Blue and White parties to form a coalition of equal size and power. After September’s election, which failed to produce a unity government, he’d proposed allowing Netanyahu to serve as prime minister and Gantz as vice prime minister.

“This is the place to remind party heads and elected officials that this house, and I personally, are at your disposal for any serious and genuine conversation you may wish to hold,” Rivlin said Wednesday. “Any agreement that produces a stable government that gains the trust of the people will be welcomed.”

Netanyahu, though, is facing corruption charges at a trial that begins next week. Some groups have asked Israeli courts to determine whether Netanyahu can form a government while under indictment, something that is unclear in Israeli law.

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