South Asia and Beyond

Israel Election Deadlock: President To Step In

With Israel’s fourth election in two years failing to throw up a clear winner, President Reuven Rivlin has said he will begin consultations next week to end the political impasse.

In the vote held last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party emerged the single largest, bagging 30 seats. Together with his traditional nationalist and ultra-Orthodox allies, he has 52 seats. That’s still short of the 61 seats (in the 120-member parliament) needed to form a government. Netanyahu’s opponents have 57 seats, while two parties—one with seven seats and the other with four—have not indicated which way they could go.

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The President’s office says he would consult each party over a span of two days beginning Monday, after which he may announce his choice for a new coalition. The prime ministerial choice will then have over a month to work out a deal with his coalition partners.

Support for Netanyahu who is under indictment for corruption charges has dipped. But in Israeli politics, alliances and rivalries can change.