Israel will head to polls in March if Knesset fails to choose a new leader

Israel will head to polls in March if Knesset fails to choose a new leader
Israel could head for elections in March 2020 if the Knesset dissolves on Wednesday.
2 min read
09 December, 2019
Israel's President Rivlin gave both Gantz and Netanyahu chances to form a coalition [Getty]

Israel will head to polls in March if rival candidates Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz fail to form a coalition this week.

The country entered a political deadlock after two elections this year ended in stalemate.

To prevent a third election, there needs to be at least 61 signatures of Knesset members to back a lawmaker who would receive the mandate to form a coalition. Currently, the main candidates are Netanyahu and Gantz.

If no lawmaker receives the required signatures, the Knesset will dissolve by Wednesday and Israelis will head back to the polls, with elections taking place on 10 March.

Following the deadlock, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin gave both Netanyahu and Gantz were given a 28-day negotiation period to form a government. Both of whom have failed to do so.

A key point of contention in negotiations is whether Gantz or Netanyahu will hold the position of prime minister first in a rotation agreement. 

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A 60-year-old former paratrooper, Gantz had no previous political experience when he declared himself Netanyahu's electoral rival in December.

But he has posed the most serious challenge to Netanyahu since he became premier in 2009.

A range of corruption charges have been hugely damaging to Netanyahu's political career.

Late November, Netanyahu was charged with fraud, breach of trust and bribery.

He denied all claims, saying he being targetted in a "witch hunt."

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