Israel’s long-standing prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he cannot form a government, handing the opportunity to his political rival.
Mr Netanyahu has been in power for the past decade but was unable to secure a majority after September’s elections failed to produce a clear winner.
His rival Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party is now likely to be invited to attempt to form a government.
Mr Netanyahu’s attempts to bring Mr Gantz’s party into government failed.
Announcing the decision to abandon his efforts, Mr Netanyahu said he had tried repeatedly to form a coalition government but had been rebuffed.