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Rivlin Unlikely to Extend Netanyahu's Deadline to Form Government, Sources Say

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With one week left until the expiration of the 28-day period given Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a government, the general assessment is that President Reuven Rivlin will not give the prime minister a two-week extension, but instead transfer the mandate to Kahol Lavan’s Benny Gantz, who would then have 28 days to try to form a coalition.

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Although Netanyahu told Rivlin when they met three weeks ago that he planned to return the mandate to the president within days if talks reached a dead end, he hasn’t done so. Likud sources weren’t sure whether Netanyahu would drag things out until the last minute or return the mandate to Rivlin in the coming days.

According to some Likud sources, Netanyahu is holding onto the mandate for two reasons. The first is an effort to “extort” a promise from Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman that he will not support a narrow left-wing coalition made up of Kahol Lavan, Labor and Democratic Union, with the external support of the Joint List. To date Lieberman has not dismissed such........

© Haaretz