Israeli AG formally charges Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu

FILE – In this Oct. 3, 2019, file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during his party’s faction meeting in Jerusalem. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, that Netanyahu has ended his quest to form a new coalition government — a step that pushes the country into new political uncertainty. Netanyahu fell short of securing a 61-seat parliamentary majority in last month’s national election. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

JERUSALEM (AP) – The Latest on Israeli political developments (all times local):

6:35 p.m.

Israel’s attorney general has formally charged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a series of corruption scandals.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit issued an indictment Thursday charging Netanyahu with fraud, breach of trust and bribery. He was scheduled to address reporters later Thursday.

Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing and said he is a victim of a witch hunt.

5:15 p.m.

Israel’s Justice Ministry says the attorney general will deliver his long-awaited decision on whether to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a series of corruption cases.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit scheduled a 7:30 p.m. (1730 GMT) news conference Thursday to announce his decision.

Criminal charges would not force Netanyahu to resign, but they would likely fuel calls for him to step down.

2 p.m.

For the first time in Israeli history, the country’s ceremonial president has announced that no candidate has been able to form a government.

Reuven Rivlin informed parliament on Thursday that neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor his chief challenger, retired military chief Benny Gantz, have completed the task of building a coalition in the time allotted to them.

The formal expiration of the presidential mandate kicks off the final 21-day window before new elections must be called.

Netanyahu, Gantz or any other sitting lawmaker can hypothetically present the backing of a majority of parliament’s 120 members in the coming weeks. But given the prolonged stalemate and unsuccessful mediation efforts it increasingly appears the country is headed toward an unprecedented third election in less than a year.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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