Israel could hold its third election in less than a year after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main challenger failed to form a government.
Benny Gantz’s announced that he would not meet a midnight deadline following Netanyahu’s own failure to put together a coalition in October.
“In the past 28 days, I have left no stone unturned, irrespective of how small, in my attempt to form a government that would bring to the state of Israel leadership with integrity, morality and values,” Gantz said.
“We have made great efforts toward forming a broad, liberal unity government … a government that will serve everyone – religious and secular, Jews and Arabs.”
Neither Netanyahu, who heads the right-wing Likud party, nor former general Gantz of the centrist Blue and White secured a ruling majority in parliament in elections in April and September.
Netanyahu, in office for the past decade, failed to put together a coalition after the inconclusive September election. Gantz was handed the task by President Reuven Rivlin next, but his 28 days to form a government expire at midnight.
With no unity government in sight, Lieberman, who heads the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party said, he would deny both men the support of his party’s eight legislators, effectively meaning neither Netanyahu nor Gantz would have sufficient backing to form more narrow administrations.
“As things stand now, we are on the way to another election,” Lieberman added.