Possible Israeli kingmaker Lieberman says not backing Netanyahu or Gantz to be next prime minister
Avigdor Liberman, a possible kingmaker following Tuesday's Israeli general election, said Sunday that he will not endorse Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or his rival Benny Gantz to be the next premier. The only way out of the stalemate, Liberman said, is a national unity government with the two big parties - Netanyahu's Likud and Gantz's Blue and White party.
Israeli ex-defence minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday he will not endorse either Benjamin Netanyahu or Benny Gantz for prime minister following last week's deadlocked elections.
Lieberman, who could potentially play a kingmaker role, spoke to journalists as President Reuven Rivlin began consulting political parties on who they will back for prime minister.
A delegation from Lieberman's secular nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party was due to meet Rivlin later Sunday.
Yisrael Beitenu won eight seats in the 120-seat parliament in Tuesday's election.
Lieberman has insisted on a unity government between his party, Netanyahu's right-wing Likud and Gantz's centrist Blue and White.
He said he could not for now back Netanyahu because he is willing to form a coalition with Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties, which he accuses of seeking to impose religious law on the secular population.
Lieberman also said he could not back Gantz for now because he may reach a deal with either the ultra-Orthodox or Israel's Arab parties, which he called "enemies."