Jerusalem: Israeli President Reuven Rivlin will begin consultations on Sunday to decide who should form the next government following this week's general elections, a statement from his office said.
Rivlin will hold meetings with the parties elected to parliament and ask them for their recommendations on who should be the next prime minister. He will then make his choice based on those recommendations.
Benny Gantz, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's main opponent in the country's general election, earlier on Thursday said he should be the prime minister in a broad unity government.
Gantz spoke to journalists after Netanyahu called for them to join together in a unity government as results from Tuesday's vote showed neither with an obvious path to form a majority coalition.
Gantz's centrist Blue and White is nevertheless two seats ahead of Netanyahu's right-wing Likud, according to results so far published by Israeli media. With nearly 95 per cent of votes counted Thursday, Gantz's Blue and White party stood at 33 seats in Israel's 120-seat Parliament. Netanyahu's Likud stood at 32 seats.
"During the elections, I called for the establishment of a right-wing government, but, sadly, the results of the elections have shown that this is not possible," said Netanyahu, pointing out that the nation did not definitively side with either bloc.
"The Right cannot form a coalition and there should be as broad a unity government as possible," he said.
"Therefore, there is no choice but to establish a wide unity government as wide as possible that's made up of all the officials that Israel called on," The Jerusalem Post quoted Netanyahu as saying.
Netanyahu also asked Gantz to meet with him as soon as possible to start the process.