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Israel's president invites Benjamin Netanyahu to form governing coalition

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Laurie Kellman, Associated Press

Israel’s president has named prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the party leader to try to cobble together a governing majority.

Reuven Rivlin’s announcement in Jerusalem on Tuesday nudged forward the twin dramas over the country’s future and Mr Netanyahu’s fate as his corruption trial resumed across town.

The charges facing Israel’s longest-serving premier posed an extraordinary choice for the country’s president over whether “morality” should be a factor in who should lead the government.

The March 23 election revolved around whether Mr Netanyahu is fit to continue serving.

His Likud party won the most seats, but no party won a governing majority of 61 seats in the Knesset.

That handed to Mr Rivlin the task of deciding who has the best chance of cobbling together a coalition.

Mr Netanyahu denies all charges and says prosecutors are trying to undermine the voters intent and oust him from office.

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