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The opponents of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are racing against time to form a coalition, and the deadline is drawing to a close

The opponents of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are racing against time to form a coalition, and the deadline is drawing to a close

Opponents of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are racing against time to finalize a coalition government to end his 12-year rule, the longest of any Israeli prime minister, before the midnight deadline on Wednesday.

The opponents of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are racing against time to form a coalition, and the deadline is drawing to a close Opponents of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are racing against time to finalize a coalition government to end his 12-year rule, the longest of any Israeli prime minister, before the midnight deadline on Wednesday.


Centrist Yair Lapid and ultra-nationalist Naftali Bennett united, and agreed to rotate their prime ministership, with Bennett taking over first, but they are still working on forming a governing coalition that includes parties from across the political spectrum.


Israeli media reported that there were some disagreements over the lower-level political appointments, but it is possible that Lapid will announce an agreement at some point on Wednesday.


Lapid faces a midnight deadline to tell Israel's largely honorary President Reuven Rivlin that he has formed a majority coalition of at least 61 seats in the Knesset. After that, the Knesset will have a week to hold a vote of confidence.


If Lapid does not get the job done by Wednesday's midnight deadline, the country will almost certainly go to a fifth election in just over two years, and Netanyahu will have another chance to hold on to his job while he faces a corruption trial.


Netanyahu's Likud party won the most seats in the March 23 elections, but was unable to form a majority with its traditional allies.


Crucially, a far-right party allied with Netanyahu refused to join a small Arab party that emerged as a "kingmaker."


Netanyahu hopes to extend his long rule and fight corruption charges from the Prime Minister's Office.


It is noteworthy that Netanyahu has emerged as a highly polarizing force in recent years, leaving Israel in a prolonged political stalemate through a series of inconclusive elections.


The emergency government - formed last year between Netanyahu and former army chief Benny Gantz to fight the coronavirus pandemic - was quickly mired in political bickering and collapsed in December. This government is still in place to conduct business.


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