FILE - In this Oct. 3, 2019, file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during his party's faction meeting in Jerusalem. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, that Netanyahu has ended his quest to form a new coalition government -- a step that pushes the country into new political uncertainty. Netanyahu fell short of securing a 61-seat parliamentary majority in last month’s national election. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Israel's Netanyahu gives up on forming new coalition

October 21, 2019 - 1:49 pm

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's president says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ended his quest to form a new coalition — a step that pushes the country into new political uncertainty.

Netanyahu fell short of securing a 61-seat parliamentary majority in last month's national election. But President Reuven Rivlin gave Netanyahu the first opportunity to form a government because he had more support, 55 seats, than any other candidate.

Netanyahu had hoped to form a broad "unity" government with his chief rival, former military chief Benny Gantz. But late Monday, Netanyahu announced he came up short.

Rivlin says he will now give Gantz a chance to form a government, though Gantz does not appear to have enough support either.

If Gantz fails, Israel could hold its third election in less than one year.

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