Israel set for third election after kingmaker refuses to back any candidate

Israel set for third election after kingmaker refuses to back any candidate

Key Israeli legislator Avigdor Lieberman has refused to endorse a candidate for prime minister, virtually guaranteeing the country will be forced into its third election in less than a year.

His comments came ahead of a midnight deadline for prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rival Benny Gantz to form a coalition.

A September election left both Mr Netanyahu and Mr Gantz short of a required parliamentary majority to form a government, with Mr Lieberman holding the decisive votes.

But after weeks of negotiations, he said he could not endorse either side, adding: “I made every effort. I turned over every stone.”

Mr Lieberman had called for a national unity government between Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party and Mr Gantz’s Blue and White, but the two leaders could not agree on a power-sharing agreement.

Mr Gantz has until midnight to try to seek other partners, but without Mr Lieberman, that appears impossible.

The Blue and White leader was given the opportunity to form a government last month after Mr Netanyahu failed in the task.

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