Israel's political rollercoaster since its last election

(From left) Mr Naftali Bennett, Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Mr Yair Lapid.
(From left) Mr Naftali Bennett, Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Mr Yair Lapid.PHOTOS: AFP

JERUSALEM (REUTERS) - Two rivals of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a partnership on Sunday (May 30) that could remove Israel's longest-serving leader.

Here is a timeline of events that led to the emerging coalition deal between centrist Yair Lapid and the far-right Naftali Bennett, and what happens next.

March 23, 2021

Israel holds its fourth inconclusive election in two years. As in every previous vote, no party won a majority in the 120-seat parliament. Netanyahu's right-wing Likud emerges as the biggest party.

Lapid's centrist Yesh Atid (There is a Future) comes second.

Bennett's Yamina (Rightwards) party wins just six seats, but he emerges as kingmaker.

April 6

President Reuven Rivlin gives Netanyahu 28 days to form a new government. He woos smaller right-wing and religious parties, including Yamina, but fails.

May 5

Rivlin turns to Lapid , who tries to form a "government of change" from an unlikely coalition of right-wing, centrist and leftist parties.

Such a coalition would be fragile and require outside backing by Arab members of Israel's parliament, who oppose much of the right-wing agenda of some in the group.

May 10

Fighting erupts between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, and unrest breaks out in many mixed Jewish-Arab cities in Israel. Coalition talks break down.

May 21

Ceasefire declared. Coalition talks resume.

May 30

Bennett announces he will join centrist rivals to unseat Netanyahu.

June 2

Deadline for Lapid to announce whether he has formed a majority coalition. If he fails, the president turns it over to anyone in parliament who thinks they can succeed. Or a fifth election will be called.