TIMELINE: What’s next after Netanyahu gave up on forming a government?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin at the President's Residence in Jerusalem

Netanyahu Returns Mandate to Form Government

Prime Minister / Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday that he is returning to President Reuven Rivlin the mandate to form the government because he has been unable to do so. At that time, all efforts to form a new government must end.

Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett, reporting from West Jerusalem, said Blue and White had previously made it clear they would enter government with Likud, but not while Netanyahu was head of the party.

By "liberal", it signalled it would seek to limit the influence of religious parties in forming a coalition.

Rivlin said he intends to task Netanyahu's centrist rival, Benny Gantz with the job of putting together a new government.

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Netanyahu had been given 28 days to secure the 61 seats necessary to achieve a functioning majority by building support from other, smaller parties in the 120-member Knesset.

Blue and White party Leader Benny Gantz looks on during his party faction meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem, on October 3.

The Joint List, which includes Palestinian citizens of Israel, emerged as Israel's third-largest party with 13 seats. Netanyahu's failure to form a coalition after April elections was the trigger for the second snap poll.

Gantz (Left) and Netanyahu (Right).

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Netanyahu has been in power for the past decade, but has seen his political strength wane as he faces a looming indictment on corruption allegations which he denies.

With Israel's attorney general set to decide in the coming weeks on whether to indict Mr Netanyahu in a series of corruption cases, the longtime Israeli leader could come under heavy pressure to step aside.

"The time for spin is over, the time has come for action", a spokesman for Blue and White said in a statement.

His rival Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party is now likely to be invited to attempt to form a government.

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