Jerusalem, April 14 (IANS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main rival, Benny Gantz, have said that a unity government deal was close following their late-night meeting to break the country’s year-long political deadlock.
The two said in separate statements that “substantial progress was made” in an overnight meeting held in an attempt to save the stalled coalition talks, reports Xinhua news agency.
The meeting will be resume on Tuesday morning, according to the statements.
Gantz’s mandate to form a new governing coalition following the March 2 elections should have expired at midnight on Monday.
However, President Reuven Rivlin extended his deadline to allow the two leaders to reach an agreement.
A statement issued on Rivlin’s behalf said Gantz now has until Wednesday’s midnight to form a government.
Earlier in the day, Gantz, Israel’s former military chief and leader of the centrist Blue and White party, urged Netanyahu to join forces.
Gantz, who promised to form a government without Netanyahu during his campaign trail, said an emergency unity government must be formed considering the COVID-19 crisis.
In response, Netanyahu wrote on Twitter that he invites Gantz to meet him in Jerusalem to sign a deal.
Should Gantz and Netanyahu fail to reach an agreement, the nation will witness a fourth elections after three previous rounds in fewer than a year produced inconclusive results.