A political lifeline for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
He was tapped Wednesday by the country’s president to try to assemble a new government.
This follows an inconclusive September election, and comes after power-sharing talks between Netanyahu and his main rival, Benny Gantz, have failed.
But Netanyahu, facing a looming indictment on corruption allegations he denies, still has no clear path to a fifth term in office… after coming up short of a parliamentary majority.
Netanyahu on Wednesday seemed to envision a scenario in which he and Gantz would be able to take another stab at power-sharing… if there is no way out of the deadlock.
(SOUNDBITE) (Hebrew) ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER, BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, SAYING:
"I will do the utmost with the mandate you gave me. If I don't succeed, I will return the mandate to you and with the help of God and Israel's citizens and yourself, Mr President, we will establish a broad national unity government down the line,"
Netanyahu was granted 28 days to form a coalition… and can ask President Rivlin for a two-week extension if necessary.
But Rivlin, in his remarks, noted he is under no obligation to give him more time.
IF Netanyahu fails to assemble a majority coalition… his rival Gantz will be given the opportunity to form his own government.