Israeli PM gets 2-week extension to form government

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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's president has granted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a two-week extension to form a government, as negotiations continued among various political partners.

Reuven Rivlin tasked Netanyahu with building a coalition within 28 days of the April 9 elections. Though Netanyahu appeared close to finalizing deals as of Monday, recent national holidays and a spate of violence in Gaza have interrupted negotiations.

The prime minister's Likud party and its Jewish ultra-Orthodox and nationalist allies won a 65-seat parliamentary majority.

It's typical for a leader to request an extension and take advantage of the full 42 days provided by law to assemble a governing coalition. Under Israeli election rules, if Netanyahu fails to form a coalition after that time, Rivlin can task someone else to do so.

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