"I am giving you another 14 days to put together a government," Rivlin told Netanyahu in remarks broadcast live on Israel's main radio stations after the premier formally requested an extension.

After a surprise election victory, Netanyahu was on March 25 tasked by Rivlin with forming the next government and given 28 days to do so, a period which expires this week.

Ahead of the deadline, Netanyahu went early on Monday to Rivlin to formally request an extension of up to two weeks.

He now has until May 6 to piece together a ruling coalition. The practice of asking for an extension is commonplace in Israel where it is almost unheard of for a single party to win an outright majority and coalitions are the norm.

"In most instances there is an extension, it's certainly very common," said Michael Partem, vice chairman of the Movement for Quality Government in Israel.

"It's irksome but it's not a major flaw in the system," he told reporters.

Despite nearly four weeks of intensive negotiations, Netanyahu has not yet managed to reach agreement on the government he was hoping to form, which would comprise six rightwing and religious parties and have a majority of 67 in the 120-seat parliament.

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