Tel Aviv: Opponents of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are expected to form a coalition in order to establish a new government ahead of a deadline which would otherwise mean new elections.
Israel has held four elections in the past two years but all have failed to produce a clear majority, reports dpa news agency.
Former Defence Minister Naftali Bennett of the pro-settler Yamina party has decided to opt for an alliance with opposition leader Jair Lapid of Yesh Atid, Israeli radio reported Sunday.
An official announcement is expected soon.
Bennett was reportedly planning to inform party members Sunday.
He agreed with Bennett that the two would share the office of Prime Minister, with Bennett initially to take the role for two years, and then to be replaced by Lapid.
Lapid’s centrist party came in second in the elections March 23, behind Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud.
After the March elections, Netanyahu had failed to form a government, so President Reuven Rivlin appointed Lapid to do so.
Lapid’s pro-reform party planned to continue coalition talks Sunday with Gideon Saar’s right-leaning New Hope.
It has already reached agreements with the left-liberal Meretz Party, the Labour Party and former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party.
Lapid is trying to ensure the support of several small parties that are far apart on the political spectrum, in order to form a minority government that would be acceptable to Arab deputies.
They are united above all by their rejection of Netanyahu, who is currently being tried for corruption.
However, the smaller parties have widely diverging political goals.
Lapid’s mandate to form a government will run out Wednesday midnight.
If he succeeds, it would end bring an end to the era of Netanyahu, in office since 2009.
He was also Prime Minister from 1996 to 1999.