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Israel Heads for 3rd Election in 12 Mo.11/20 06:29

   JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israeli kingmaker Avigdor Lieberman on Wednesday refused 
to endorse a candidate for prime minister, virtually guaranteeing the country 
will be forced into a new election, the third in less than a year.

   Lieberman's comments came ahead of a midnight deadline for Prime Minister 
Benjamin Netanyahu's rival, Benny Gantz, to form a coalition.

   A September election left both Netanyahu and Gantz short of securing a 
required parliamentary majority to form a government, with Lieberman holding 
the decisive votes.

   But after weeks of negotiations, Lieberman said he could not endorse either 
side.

   "I made every effort. I turned over every stone," he said.

   Lieberman had called for a national unity government between Netanyahu's 
Likud party and Gantz's Blue and White. But the two leaders could not agree on 
a power-sharing agreement.

   Gantz has until midnight to try to seek other partners, but without 
Lieberman, that appears impossible.

   Gantz was given the opportunity to form a government last month after 
Netanyahu failed in the task.


(KR)

 
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