The centrist Beny Gantz failed today in his attempt to form a unitary executive with Benjamin Netanyahu, so the president, Reuvén Rivlin, is expected to transfer the mandate to Parliament.
At midnight on Wednesday (21:00 GMT), the period granted to Gantz to finalize a government agreement elapsed, without information on the conclusion of a pact with the current acting prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
The negotiating teams of both leaders met tonight for one last negotiating attempt, but it was without announcements.
This failure will keep the country in the political blockade that has led it to hold three elections in less than a year without conclusive results.
Rivlin announced this week that, if there is no agreement, he will transfer the mandate to form an Executive to Parliament, which will have 21 days to elect a deputy who wins the support of a majority of 61 supports. This gives both leaders room to continue negotiating, although Gantz will have a weaker position.
Netanyahu has his regular partners and a Guesher deputy with the support of 59 legislators, which leaves him in a better position than Gantz, but does not guarantee that he can govern.
If a pact is not reached in the next three weeks, Israel will have to go again, and for the fourth time, to the polls.
Last week, Rivlin refused to grant Gantz an additional 14-day extension to continue negotiating, amid stalled contacts with Netanyahu. Both rivals sat down again within hours of the deadline on Monday and jointly asked for an extension to the president, who granted them 48 hours.
On Tuesday they continued talking and in the afternoon the negotiations were interrupted during the Jewish holiday of Passover, which ended tonight, when the contacts resumed. But it was too late.
Thus, Israel enters a new uncertain chapter of its political paralysis, and for now it will continue to be governed by an interim executive, in force since December 2018.
Should the Knesset win a majority supporting a candidate, the candidate will have two weeks to present a Cabinet to the House. But if this route is not fruitful either, the Israelis will have to go to the polls again, after doing so in April and September 2019 and in March of this year.