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Apr 20, 3:58 AM EDT

Israeli leader gets 2-week extension to form coalition


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Conflict in the Middle East

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has received a two-week extension to form a new governing coalition following his election victory last month.

Netanyahu told the Israeli president he has made progress in negotiations with potential partners but needs more time to form a stable coalition.

The Israeli leader has held weeks of negotiations with his nationalist, religious and ultra-Orthodox Jewish allies.

Netanyahu looks close to finalizing deals with two ultra-Orthodox parties and the centrist, economics-focused Kulanu party. But large gaps remain with two nationalist parties led by long-time Netanyahu associates.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin granted Netanyahu the extension Monday. 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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