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Israel: Netanyahu rival Lapid asked to form new government

Israel's president has asked the leader of the centrist Yesh Atid party, Yair Lapid, to try to form a government.

Reuven Rivlin announced that he had given Mr Lapid the mandate after long-time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to meet an overnight deadline.

Yesh Atid came second to Mr Netanyahu's right-ring Likud party in March's inconclusive general election.

Mr Lapid faces a challenge to bridge the ideological differences between the parties he can ask to join a coalition.

If he fails to secure a majority in the 120-seat parliament, the Knesset, there is a risk of the country having to go to elections for the fifth time in two years.

In a televised address on Wednesday evening, President Rivlin said he had decided to give Mr Lapid a 28-day mandate to form a government after 56 lawmakers expressed support for his candidacy.


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