Third Elections? Here’s the Schedule If No Government Is Formed

Voting slips for the Knesset elections. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Although both the Likud and Blue and White claim to be seeking ways to bridge the gap between each party in order to establish a unity government, analysts continue to point out that the gaps between the parties and blocs seems almost unbridgeable. If no unity government is achieved, what will the next few months look like politically in Israel?

The final results of the election will be certified on September 25, and by then President Reuven Rivlin will have met with all parties to ask for recommendations on whom the work of assembling a coalition should be placed. Rivlin will have the option to ask the head of any party to try, and at this point it’s likely that person will be Benny Gantz, considering that his party has two more Knesset seats than Binyamin Netanyahu’s.

Given the pact signed by Netanyahu and the religious and chareidi parties to negotiate as a single bloc, and the refusal of Gantz to drop Yair Lapid, Gantz is seen as unlikely to succeed – unless he can convince both Avigdor Liberman and Ayman Odeh and his United Arab List to sit in the same government. Failing that, Gantz will have to “return the mandate” to Rivlin, who will then appoint someone else to form a government. That would most likely be Netanyahu, but Rivlin reserves the right to ask someone else in the Likud to take on that role.

That could take place on October 23, but assuming Gantz gets an extension over the initial 28 day period he has to form the government, the final deadline for Gantz will be November 9. At that point, the Likud candidate will get the same deal – 28 days plus a two week extension to form a government. If that effort fails, Rivlin can throw the task to the full Knesset, which will have three weeks to form its own government. If it fails, the Knesset disbands for the second time this year. That date will be December 28, and new elections will then be called. The tentative date for those elections will be March 31, 2020.