Netanyahu and Rivlin
Netanyahu and Rivlin Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu returned the mandate to form the government to President Reuven Rivlin Monday night after failing to form a coalition of 61 MKs.

"A short time ago I informed the president that I was handing back my mandate to try to form a government," Netanyahu said in a video on his Facebook page.

Netanyahu's mandate was scheduled to expire on Wednesday. He had the option of seeking a two-week extension, but reportedly believed that he would not receive the extension in light of the impasse in talks to form a unity government.

Rivlin will most likely now give the mandate to Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, who will have 28 days to form a coalition.