3 Mar 2013

Israeli PM seeks more time to form government

9:04 am on 3 March 2013

Deadlocked talks with potential coalition partners have forced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to seek more time to build a new government and avert a possible snap election.

His right-wing Likud-Beitenu party narrowly won the 22 January election, gaining 31 of the Knesset's 120 seats.

Officials said Mr Netanyahu would meet President Shimon Peres on Saturday to ask for a two-week extension to the standard four weeks allotted to build a coalition. Mr Peres is expected to grant the request.

Should the premier fail to win enough allies for a parliamentary majority by 16 March the president could hand the task to a rival party leader, Reuters reports.

If no government emerged then, Israelis may have to return to the polls.