Israeli president meets party representatives to choose premier ahead of coalition talks

Israel's president is consulting representatives of political parties to decide who will lead the country's next coalition government.

Wednesday's consultations began after President Shimon Peres received the official results of last week's parliamentary election. After talks with all 12 parties elected to parliament, Peres will ask the leader best positioned to form a coalition to be the next prime minister.

Peres is almost certain to tap the current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to try to form a new government. Political newcomer Yair Lapid, whose party finished second, said he will not seek the post.

Peres was meeting representatives from Netanyahu's and Lapid's parties on Wednesday. Meetings with smaller parties are scheduled for Thursday.

The premier-designate has up to six weeks to form a coalition government.