Blue and White leader Benny Gantz called President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday and asked for an additional two weeks to form a government.
Gantz’s mandate from Rivlin is set to end on April 13 at 11:59 p.m. But by law, Rivlin can extend it to April 27, and no president has ever rejected a request for an extension.
Rivlin responded that he would consider Gantz’s request closer to the deadline, based on the circumstances and the progress in the negotiations at the time.
Gantz’s request ended hopes that a deal could be brought to the Knesset for a vote on Monday. Instead, the Knesset will only approve the agreement and the accompanying controversial legislation after it returns from Passover recess.
The Likud and Blue and White exchanged three or four drafts of the agreement on Sunday and were set to negotiate again late at night.
Remaining problems include the timetable for carrying out US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan and how many representatives the parties will have on the Judicial Selection Committee.
The Likud accused Gantz of backtracking on a commitment to start implementing Trump’s plan and applying sovereignty to communities in Judea and Samaria three months after the formation of the government. One idea raised is to first announce elements in the plan and implement them later.
Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Friday and decided to expedite the talks. But due to legislation that must be passed to facilitate the deal, it is unlikely a government will be sworn in any time soon.
The Knesset Arrangements Committee will meet on Monday to approve Labor’s split from Meretz, following a request by Labor leader Amir Peretz.
Responding to a request on Sunday from Labor MK Merav Michaeli, who opposes entering the coalition, Labor secretary-general Eran Hermoni promised that as soon as a final deal is reached, the party would hold an online convention to decide whether to join the government.