Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political opponents are rushing to form a coalition government agreement at midnight on Wednesday and to end his 12-year rule.
Netanyahu, 71, is the longest-serving Israeli prime minister. Centrist leader Yair Lapid and nationalist Naftali Bennett joined forces and agreed to lead the government on a rotating basis.
Bennett would be the first prime minister coming from the coalition. However, they still need to complete a ruling coalition with parties representing the entire political spectrum.
Israeli media reported that there were still disagreements over some low-ranking political appointments, but Lapid is expected to announce an agreement at some point on Wednesday.
Lapid also has to inform Israeli President Reuven Rivlin by midnight at the latest that he has formed a majority coalition with at least 61 seats in the Knesset. Later, the parliament will have to hold a week-long vote on the government’s appointment.
In addition, lawmakers are expected to elect one of two candidates in a secret ballot on Wednesday to replace Rivlin as president and become the 11th head of the Jewish state since Israel was founded in 1948.
One of the candidates is Miriam Peretz, 67, who previously worked as a school principal in one of the settlements. The second candidate is 60-year-old Isaac Herzog, a former center-left Labor leader and minister, who advocates ending the conflict with the Palestinians by establishing a Palestinian state.