The turmoil does not mean that Netanyahu will be immediately kicked out of his post as prime minister. But suddenly he faces a serious threat to his long reign. His opponents have already had informal talks in recent weeks to lay the groundwork for a power-sharing deal.
He suffered a last-minute defeat on Tuesday night after a key committee failed to hold a vote on his proposal to hold direct elections for the post of prime minister. A main rival, Benny Gantz, said Netanyahu “has again failed to form a government. Now it is your job to think about the country, to honestly look at reality, and to concede your failure.
Netanyahu had struggled to secure a parliamentary majority since March 23 – when the elections ended in a deadlock for the fourth time in a row in the past two years.
In the election, Netanyahu’s Likud became the largest single party, with 30 seats in the 120-member parliament. But to form a government, it needed the support of a 61-seat majority. This task was complicated in large part by members of his own religious and nationalist base.