|Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Israeli President Simon Peres speak during a brief ceremony at the president's residence in Jerusalem on March 2, 2013. President Shimon Peres granted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu two more weeks to form Israel's next government. Netanyahu has asked for an extension after exhausting the 28-day timeframe to build a coalition. (Xinhua/Pool/Uriel Sinai)
JERUSALEM, March 2 (Xinhua) -- Israeli President Shimon Peres Saturday gave incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu another two weeks to form a new government some 40 days after the country held early parliamentary elections.
At a press conference Saturday evening at the presidential residence, Netanyahu said his potential coalition partners were giving him a hard time in the past several weeks' talks on forming the new government.
"The main reason I wasn't able to form a government until now is the fact that certain parties are boycotting others," Netanyahu said.
His statements were mainly directed at the alliance of center Yesh Atid party's leader Yair Lapid and rightist-nationalist Habayit Hayeudi's (The Jewish Home) head Naftali Bennet.
The two parties, who received a total of 31 seats in the 120- member parliament, stressed they will not compromise on the issue of "equalizing the burden" in the Israeli society, demanding the recruitment of young ultra-Orthodox men into the army.
Due to strong resentment to this proposal, the haredi parties cannot agree to sit in the same coalition with Bennet and Lapid. Despite Netanyahu's efforts in the past weeks, no resolution was found to get both sides into a wide coalition.
On Feb. 2, Peres gave Netanyahu 28 days to form a government after 80 lawmakers recommended him for the role.
According to the Basic Israel Elections act, the candidate can receive an extra 14 days to finish the task if the initial timeframe is not enough.
Under this law, if Netanyahu fails again to fulfill the task when the new deadline expires, the president can nominate another candidate to form a governing coalition, or new elections could happen.
However, it looks likely that Netanyahu will sign coalition deals with his main partners in the upcoming week, namely Lapid's and Bennet's parties, after reaching an understanding on the ultra- Orthodox conscription issue.
Yet there are still differences to be smoothed out as both Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayeudi oppose the only current coalition deal Netanyahu has signed, the one with center politician Tzipi Livni. Both parties' leaders asked Netanyahu to revoke assigning Livni to lead the peace talks with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu tried in the past weeks to get the center-left Labor party into his ruling coalition and keep the ultra-Orthodox in the it as well, while snubbing Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayeudi.
However, Labor leader Shelly Yachimovich rejected the offer, citing the "huge gap" between the two parties' socioeconomic agendas.