efe-epaJerusalem

The Israeli president on Monday began consultations with the parties of parliamentary representation before officially appointing the country’s new prime minister.

The consultations, to be broadcasted live for the first time, began with Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, the main cog in a bloc of right-wing parties, as the Minister of Tourism, Yariv Levin, asked for their leader to form the government on behalf of 36 deputies "and the more than 1,138,000 voters."

President Reuven Rivlin raised the possibility that Netanyahu’s candidacy might not have the support of the 61 deputies needed to get a simple majority.

However, the Minister of Culture, Miri Regev, voiced her support for Netanyahu and said they were confident of his success despite attempts to destroy him.

Meanwhile, the centrist Blue and White coalition, the second most voted party with 14,843 votes and one seat less than the Likud, ruled out ruling with Netanyahu and proposed its leader Beni Gantz.

Members of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party (8 seats) and United Torah Judaism party (7 seats) were next to be consulted and gave their support to Netanyahu, with whom they governed in the last legislature.

The Arab coalition Hadash-Taal (6 seats) was the last in the day's consultations, which are to be continued on Tuesday with the remaining parties of Labor, Yisrael Beiteinu or Israel Our Home, United Right, Meretz, Kulanu and Ra'am-Balad.

Likud said, in a press conference after the consultations, that Avigdor Lieberman, the former defense minister who resigned in November and left the coalition headed by Netanyahu, will add his five deputies from Israel Our Home party, which would guarantee Netanyahu’s formation of the government.

Rivlin said he hoped to name a candidate by Wednesday, which will be granted a period of 28 days - extendable for two weeks- to form a new executive.

On Tuesday, Israel held early elections in which more than 4.3 million voters (67.9 percent) cast their ballots, forming a parliament with a majority of the right block.

Netanyahu is seeking his fifth and the fourth consecutive term.

A small group of people gathered in front of the president's residence in Jerusalem demanding that Netanyahu is given immunity from prosecution after he was accused by the prosecutor's office of corruption in three different cases. EFE

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