Netanyahu asks Israeli president for extension to form government

Netanyahu asks Israeli president for extension to form government

Legal deadline for Netanyahu to form government expires Sunday

By Mehmet Nuri Ucar and Said Amori

JERUSALEM (AA) - Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu has asked President Isaac Herzog for a two-week extension to form the government, local media reported Thursday.

“Negotiations are in full swing, and much progress has been made. However, I will require all the days of extension that you have the power to give me according to the law so that I can form the government,” Netanyahu wrote to Herzog in a letter, according to Israeli public broadcaster KAN.

The legal deadline for Netanyahu to form the government expires on Dec. 11, it added.

Earlier Thursday, Netanyahu’s Likud Party signed a deal with the far-right Shas party to join the upcoming government.

KAN said that under the agreement, the head of the Shas party, Aryeh Deri, will serve as the health minister and interior minister during the first half of the government’s four-year term, while in the second half, he will serve as finance minister.

Netanyahu has so far reached agreements with several far-right parties, including the Religious Zionism party, the Jewish Strength party and the Noam Party, while he is still negotiating with the United Torah party over legislation it requested.

Under these agreements, the Likud Party is expected to hold the ministries of defense, foreign affairs, justice, and infrastructure.

An election this November paved the way for Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving prime minister, to return to power.

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