Gantz & # 39; Blue and White party have 33 seats under Likud 31 after Tuesday's parliamentary elections, according to the Israeli Central Election Committee.
Election officials state that the election results are not final until they have examined the ballot in 15 polling stations where voting irregularities were suspected.
Gantz has already announced victory in the race and on Thursday demanded a unity government under his leadership.
The crucial next step in this process, however, will be on Sunday, when Israeli President Reuven Rivlin will hold consultations with leaders of all parties and decide who will make the first attempt at forming a government.
Harel Tubi, President-General of the Presidency, said on Friday morning on Israeli radio that Rivlin would not necessarily mandate the chairman of the party with the most seats or the biggest support from the smaller parties.
Rather, Tubi said the president would mandate the candidate with the "highest chance of forming a government" – leaving open the prospect that he could give it to any man, even though it now seems certain that Gantz & # 39; Blue-white party in the end will have the most seats.
However, given the complexity of the current situation, it is far from clear that either Netanyahu or Gantz actually want to take the top spots in the race; Many analysts believe it is in the interest of both men to see the other man's first attempt, assuming a first round of coalition talks is likely to fail.
The Third Election is about to begin
Rivlin's talks with party leaders are scheduled to take two days, after which he will appoint one of them to begin formal coalition talks.
If these talks do not come to fruition within the maximum six weeks, the President would most likely ask the leader of the other main party to give it a try. If these talks fail, the prospect of a new general election – which the Times of Israel has termed the "third nightmare scenario in nightmares" – could become a reality.
Rivlin said Thursday he'll "do anything to stop one." prevent another general election ".
It is up to you, as well as the responsibility for forming a government that serves all the citizens of Israel with due commitment, "he said, addressing the country's political leaders.
" Our present situation has taken a long time The time of transitional government severely restricts the government's ability to act and serve the citizens of Israel and our ability to meet the political, security and economic challenges we face, "Rivlin warned 9659002. Netanyahu has joined
First, he announced that he had reunited the ultra-orthodox religious and right-wing nationalist parties, giving him a larger, declared bloc in parliament, albeit one such six seats less than a minority. 19659002] He then appealed to Gantz to join him in a unity government Although this was generally seen more as an attempt to put pressure on Gantz than as a real offer. 
The Israeli press asks where Netanyahu went wrong.
The fight for the formation of a government is not ruled out in view of the ongoing corruption investigations against Prime Minister Netanyahu. He is being charged with bribery and breach of trust until a final indictment hearing takes place before the Attorney General in the first week of October.
He denies the allegations against him, but Blue and White says that this will not be the case in a government with Netanyahu as long as the long-time chairman is under criminal suspicion.
A longtime member of Netanyahu's Likud Party told CNN on Thursday that, in his opinion, the prime minister's "motivational force" is not a unity government. but bypasses these corruption allegations.
"The real story that is most important to Bibi is his attempt to stop the investigation against him with the help of parliamentary immunity," said former Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor told CNN Christiane Amanpour. "He needed a majority in parliament to gain immunity so that the allegations against him – which are quite violent because of corruption – will not be pursued."
Netanyahu may also be faced with the possibility of contesting a third parliamentary election after being convicted of these accusations – making the attempt to find a way to power even more urgent.
"While he may then try to portray himself as more desperate as a victim of a political witch hunt, this Tuesday's move obviously did not work to his advantage," wrote the Times of Israel on Friday.
Israeli media elsewhere have considered the combination of obstacles facing the longtime ruler.
wrote the Jerusalem Post in an article with the question, "Where did Bibi go wrong?"
Another article in Haaretz mentioned the harsh rhetoric of the Prime Minister during the last election season and concluded that "Netanyahu like Erdogan went astray, but possibly fades out like Nixon."