Israeli president Reuven Rivlin

President Reuven Rivlin begins his consultations with the political parties elected to the Knesset in last week’s elections on who should form the next government.

This is necessary in order to decide who to task with forming a government after last week’s election left neither Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud nor Benny Gantz’s Blue and White with a clear path to a majority coalition.

First up is the Blue and White party, which according to near-final results finished the elections with 33 seats, making it the largest party.

Benny Gantz, Blue and White’s leader, is seeking the premiership, but currently lacks enough seats together with other parties to form a government.

Israel’s president has the power to appoint one of the 120 MKs elected on Tuesday as the next potential prime minister of Israel. The designated lawmaker must then cobble together a coalition that wins the support of a majority of Knesset members.

Tuesday’s election ended in an apparent deadlock, with Blue and White emerging as the larger party, at 33 seats, and Likud winning 31.

By Israeli parliamentary tradition, that would grant Blue and White leader Benny Gantz the first stab at forming a coalition.

Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz, left, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, speak on election night in Tel Aviv at separate party events, September 18, 2019. (Miram Alster, Hadas Parush/Flash90)

But neither party chief has a clear majority, a fact that has led both men to insist they had won the race.

Once one of them is chosen by the president, they have 28 days to present a coalition to the new Knesset and win a vote of confidence. The president is allowed to extend that period by up to 14 days.