An unlikely coalition of disparate Israeli opposition parties struck a deal on Wednesday night to form a government. The agreement could potentially resolve an extended period of political deadlock and force beleaguered Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from the political stage after 12 years in office. Yair Lapid, a centrist, and Naftali Bennett, an ultranationalist, announced the deal after they succeeded in cobbling together a coalition government with a number of parties from across the political spectrum. Lapid managed to pull together signatures from seven parties signaling their willingness to form a coalition shortly before his mandate to form a new government expired at midnight.
Lapid has officially informed President Rivlin that he has the backing of the majority of the Knesset to form a cabinet — over two months after the March 23 election. The new government could face a vote of confidence in Israel’s Knesset parliament sometime before next Wednesday unless Lapid asks for time to negotiate any disagreements before parties sign on to a binding coalition. Such a move would delay the vote by another week and give parties time to iron out any disagreements about the policies and appointments of the new government. It is expected that Netanyahu, the country’s longest-serving prime minister, will attempt to bring lawmakers from the coalition over to his side. Unless the newly formed coalition collapses before being sworn in, Netanyahu’s 12-year stint in the top job will come to an end.
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