Third election looking likely with coalition talks at a deadlock

A unity government looked highly unlikely as of Wednesday night, with both the Likud and Blue and White saying negotiations are at an impasse with no chance of a breakthrough.

The parties’ negotiating teams are expected to meet on Thursday morning, despite their skepticism.

While the parties have said publicly that they want a unity government, behind closed doors, sources in the negotiations do not see a path to a coalition.

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz has 21 days left to form a government before the mandate to do so goes to the Knesset, which will then have 21 days for a majority of its members to back a candidate for prime minister. If that does not happen, a third election within a year will be called.

A senior Blue and White source said there has been almost no substance in their meetings with Likud so far, but he hoped they would delve into the political issues on Thursday. He said the Likud’s insistence that Netanyahu be prime minister first in a rotation was a nonstarter as long as Gantz has the mandate to form a government.