Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu will be facing a deadline to form a new government Tuesday midnight with no sign of him signing any agreement for coalition to break more than two years of political deadlock.
Netanyahu struggled to secure a parliamentary majority since March 23 – when elections ended in deadlock for the fourth consecutive time in the past two years.
The election took place amid an ongoing trial for criminal corruption charges he denies.
Netanyahu, 71, has been in office since 2009 and also served for three years in the 1990s.
Despite repeated meetings with many of his rivals, Netanyahu has not been able to close a deal during a four-week window. His Likud party has 30 members but needs a total of 61 MPs to form government in the 120-member Knesset, the Israeli parliament.
If he fails to gather a new coalition government, parties outside his caretaker government could bridge political differences and unseat him.
In the absence of any deal, President Reuven Rivlin will assign the coalition-building task to another member of parliament, which is widely expected to be Yair Lapid, 57, whose centrist Yesh Atid party placed second to Netanyahu’s Likud in the March 23 vote.
Rivlin could give him an additional two weeks to form a coalition. But if all options fail, the country would face another election this fall, meaning months of continued political paralysis.