JERUSALEM – The Latest on Israeli politics (all times local):
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s challenger says he has failed to form a governing coalition by a Wednesday deadline.
Wednesday’s announcement by Benny Gantz deals a major setback to his hopes of replacing the long-serving Netanyahu and could set the stage for the country’s third election in under a year.
Gantz had been tapped by the country’s president to form a government after Netanyahu failed at the task last month. But like Netanyahu, Gantz was unable to muster the support of a majority in the 120-seat parliament.
He said he had informed Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, of his decision.
With his announcement, parliament has 21 days to rally behind Gantz, Netanyahu or a third dark-horse candidate. If that fails, the country would be forced to hold elections in March.