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Netanyahu fails to muster majority coalition as midnight deadline passes

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the Israel Prize ceremony in Jerusalem, prior to Israel's 73rd Independence Day, on April 11, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the Israel Prize ceremony in Jerusalem, prior to Israel's 73rd Independence Day, on April 11, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

As the clock strikes midnight, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s deadline to form a government passes, with the Likud leader having failed to assemble a ruling coalition during the 28-day period he was given by President Reuven Rivlin.

The “mandate” to form a government returns now to Rivlin, who has three days to decide how to proceed. He can either task another lawmaker — mostly likely Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid or Yamina chief Naftali Bennett — with forming a government, or give the Knesset 21 days to get a majority of lawmakers to rally around a candidate. If those routes fail, a fifth round of elections since April 2019 will automatically be called.

Along with his political woes, Netanyahu is also fighting for his legal survival, with the cross-examination of the first witness in his corruption trial beginning today. Netanyahu, who faces charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, denies wrongdoing.

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