Netanyahu tasked with forming new Israeli gov't. Image Source: IANS News

Jerusalem, May 8 : Israeli President Reuven Rivlin tasked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with forming a new government.

On Thursday, Rivlin formally informed Netanyahu in a letter that he has two weeks to put together a new coalition government, Xinhua news agency reported.

"We are in the midst of an unprecedented period, during which the country has undergone three consecutive rounds of elections in the last year and has, in addition, faced the coronavirus along with the rest of the world," Rivlin said.

Rivlin's move came after Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, Netanyahu's former rival-turned ally, that 72 lawmakers of the 120-member parliament endorsed Netanyahu. The endorsement means Netanyahu has the majority needed to form a government.

Netanyahu's rightwing Likud party and Gantz's centrist Blue and White party signed a power-sharing deal under which Netanyahu will continue to serve as prime minister for at least 18 months, followed by Gantz.

Earlier Thursday, the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, approved a package of the bills required by the controversial power-sharing deal between Netanyahu and Gantz.

The new legislation came a day after Israel's Supreme Court ruled that Netanyahu could form a new government while facing criminal charges.

His trial for bribery, fraud and breach of trust is expected to begin on May 24.

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