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Netanyahu calls on Gantz to form joint unity government
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on his main challenger Benny Gantz on Thursday to form a unity government together as election results showed both without an obvious path to a majority coalition.
Netanyahu, in a video message, said he preferred to form a right-wing coalition, but the results showed it was not possible.
The admission was a major development following Israel's general election on Tuesday that has put Netanyahu's status as the country's longest-serving prime minister at risk.
"During the elections, I called for the establishment of a right-wing government," Netanyahu said.
"But unfortunately the election results show that this is not possible."
He went on to call on Gantz to form a "broad unity government today" and proposed they meet today "at any hour".
Gantz had not yet responded, but he has repeatedly called for a unity government.
It is unclear however if he would accept such a government with Netanyahu, who faces possible corruption charges in the weeks ahead, remaining as prime minister.
With 97 percent of the votes counted, Gantz's Blue and White coalition holds 33 seats while Netanyahu's Likud party holds 31, Haaretz reported.
The mainly Arab Joint List alliance is set to become the third-largest force in parliament with a projected 13 seats.
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Netanyahu has cancelled his planned visit to the United Nations General Assembly next week due to the "political context in the country", Israeli media reported on Wednesday.