The deadline for Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to form a governing coalition was to expire today; the long-time leader of the Likud party acknowledged his failure to form a government on Monday.
Israeli politics has been in a state of stalemate since a first election was held in April. Despite a second election on September 17, no party has been able to form a coalition despite nearly a month of negotiations.
Benny Gantz of the centrist Blue and White Party will now attempt to muster the requisite support of 61 parliamentarians to form a coalition government, but it will not be easy. The Blue and White Party holds one more seat than Likud, but Netanyahu received one more vote in the Knesset as the initially preferred premier. Meanwhile, Gantz has made clear his reluctance to join a government with Netanyahu—who is facing prosecution on fraud, bribery and breach of trust charges—and his right-wing supporters.
The momentous impact of an indictment of Netanyahu may be enough to sway unconvinced lawmakers to back Gantz, securing a coalition. Yet, in the likely case that Gantz fails to form a government, and no government is formed by March, the Knesset will automatically dissolve and voters will head to the polls yet again, shaking up Israeli politics once more.
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Nick is the Director of the Daily Brief and a contributing Senior Analyst to it. An attorney, his areas of expertise include international law, international and domestic criminal law, security affairs in Europe and the Middle East, and human rights.