Israel's government: what happened and what comes next?

New government expected to be sworn in in mid June

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Israel's opposition leader moved closer to unseating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he told the country's president late on Wednesday that he has reached agreements with political allies to form a new government.

Here is a timeline of events that led to the emerging coalition deal between centrist Yair Lapid and the far-right Naftali Bennett, and what happens next.

March 23, 2021

Israel holds its fourth inconclusive election in two years. As in previous votes, no party won a majority in the 120-seat parliament. Mr Netanyahu's right-wing Likud emerges as the biggest party.

Mr Lapid's centrist Yesh Atid (There is a Future) comes second. Mr Bennett's Yamina (Rightwards) party wins just six seats, but he emerges as kingmaker.

April 6

President Reuven Rivlin gives Mr Netanyahu 28 days to form a new government. He woos smaller right-wing and religious parties, including Yamina, but fails.

May 5

Mr Rivlin turns to Mr Lapid, who tries to form a “government of change” from an unlikely coalition of right-wing, centrist and leftist parties.

Such a coalition would be fragile and require outside backing by Arab members of Israel's parliament, who oppose much of the right-wing agenda of some in the group.

May 10

Fighting erupts between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, and unrest breaks out in many mixed Jewish-Arab cities in Israel. Coalition talks break down.

May 21

Ceasefire declared. Coalition talks resume.

May 30

Mr Bennett announces he will join centrist rivals to unseat Mr Netanyahu.

Clockwise from top left, the new coalition is made up of: Yesh Atid, led by Yair Lapid; Yamina, led by Naftali Bennett; New Hope, led by Gideon Sa'ar; Israel Beiteinu led by Avigdor Lieberman; the Israeli Labour Party, led by Merav Michaeli; Ra'am, led by Mansour Abbas; Blue and White, led by Benny Gantz; and Meretz, led by Nitzan Horowitz. AFP 

June 2

The deadline for Mr Lapid to announce whether he has formed a majority coalition was midnight on Wednesday, June 2.

Mr Rivlin's office issued a statement saying: “We expect the Knesset will convene as soon as possible to ratify the government, as required.”


New government expected to be sworn in.

Bennett, Lapid reach coalition deal to oust PM Netanyahu

Bennett, Lapid reach coalition deal to oust PM Netanyahu