FILE - Benny Gantz, leader of Blue and White party, delivers a statement at the start of his party faction meeting in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sept. 26, 2019.
FILE - Benny Gantz, leader of Blue and White party, delivers a statement at the start of his party faction meeting in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sept. 26, 2019.

Ex-Israeli military chief Benny Gantz has called off Wednesday’s meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in another setback in efforts to form a unity government.

Gantz said the preconditions for the talks were not met. But he said a meeting could be rescheduled for later this week.

Netanyahu's Likud Party said it is "stunned" by Gantz's decision to cancel the talks, calling on him to show some responsibility and avoid the possibility of yet another election.

Gantz's centrist Blue and White party won 33 seats in last month's parliamentary election, while Likud finished with 32 seats.

This was the second election this year where no party won enough seats to form a coalition government.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, right, shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Sept. 25, 2109.

Israeli President  Reuven Rivlin had asked Netanyahu to try to put together a coalition that would extend his record as Israel’s longest-serving prime minister.

But Gantz said he refuses to be part of any government headed by Netanyahu, who is facing corruption charges.

The prime minister's lawyers will attend closed-door hearings with Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit Wednesday as they hope to avoid an indictment.

If Netanyahu fails to form a new government, Rivlin will likely ask Gantz to try or ask parliament to choose a prime minister.

Special Project

More Coverage