President Reuven Rivlin gave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the task of forming a new government on Wednesday evening, after negotiations between Likud and Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan over the establishment of a unity government failed to bear fruit.
Now Netanyahu has a shot at trying to recruit 61 Knesset members to vote in support of a new right-wing government coalition within 28 days. If he does not succeed to overcome the current deadlock, it will be again down to Rivlin to decide what comes next.
Most likely, he will give Gantz a chance to try form a government, or he could let the Knesset pick another candidate to try. These are the key dates when developments are expected to unfold.
October 2-3: Netayahu’s hearing
The decision whether to file indictments against Netanyahu in his three corruption cases will be announced within a few days after the hearing.
October 3: The 22nd Knesset will be sworn in
Once the new Knesset convenes, it can decide to dissolve and call new elections – with an absolute majority of 61 votes – even if the candidate for prime minister tasked with forming a new government has yet to finish his attempts to do so.
October 23: The day Netanyahu's time for forming coalition is up
If Netanyahu fails to do so by this date, Rivlin could choose to grant him another 14 days to try. It is likely the president will decide not to grant this extension, however. The president could hold consultations and then task another candidate with the job, and this person would have only 28 days to put together a new government.
Another option Rivlin would have is inform the Knesset speaker that he was unable to find a different candidate for prime minister, and the Knesset would then be forced to either dissolve itself and call for new elections – or 61 MKs could join together and send Rivlin a letter in support of a new candidate for prime minister.
If no new candidate is tasked with forming a government, the new election will be held on a Tuesday – three months after the Knesset dissolves.
November 6: End of possible extension period for Netanyahu
The two-week extension period that Rivlin could grant to Netanyahu to form a government comes to an end.
November 20: End of possible extension period granted to another candidate
The end of the period Rivlin could grant to the second candidate he tasks with establishing a new government. If this person also fails to do so, 61 MKs may write Rivlin and ask him to give the task to a different Knesset member. Such a request can be submitted to Rivlin within 21 days of the second candidate announcing he has failed to form a government. The new candidate would be given only two weeks to establish a new government.
December 14: End of 14-day period given to possible third candidate
If the third candidate also fails, the Knesset will get dissolved and new elections will be held – for the third time in less than a year. Such elections would be held in March.
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