Officials from the Likud-Beytenu faction are holding separate talks with the Jewish Home and Yesh Atid parties, as time winds down for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to garner enough support to form a new government.
President Shimon Peres is expected to grant Netanyahu an extra 14 days to put together a coalition, after the initial 28 days granted for the task expire on Saturday night.
Netanyahu has managed to sign a deal only with the Hatnua party, leaving him 24 seats short of the 61 MKs needed for a Knesset majority.
On Wednesday, Likud-Beytenu negotiators met with representatives from Jewish Home. On Thursday they will meet with the Yesh Atid team.
The parties are both seen as possible linchpins in the formation of a new government, and have agreed not to make a coalition deal without the other. However, the two have decided to continue to negotiate separately.
“We have an understanding, but we don’t have an alliance,” a source from Jewish Home said, speaking to The Times of Israel on the condition of anonymity Wednesday afternoon. “There are issues we agree on, and we present a united front, but we hold separate negotiations led by different people.”
Should Netanyahu fail to form a coalition by mid-March — deemed unlikely, but not impossible – the president could ask another politician to form a government or Israel could head to new elections.