JERUSALEM, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday night that he was returning the mandate to form a government to the President after failing to do so amid a political deadlock.
In a video statement issued on Facebook, Netanyahu said he had told President Reuven Rivlin that he was returning the mandate, two days before his deadline to present a new coalition.
Meanwhile, a statement released by Rivlin's office said the President now intends to task Benny Gantz, leader of the Blue and White centrist party, with forming a new government.
Gantz's party won 33 seats in the 120-seat parliament in the do-over elections on Sept. 17, against the 32 seats of Netanyahu's right-wing Likud.
The tight results have brought the country to a political deadlock, with speculation on a third round of elections in less than a year if Gantz also fails.