A polling station in Jerusalem. (JTA/Hadas Parush/Flash90)
A polling station in Jerusalem. (JTA/Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Israel sets a March 2 election date if government isn’t formed. That’s 3 votes in less than a year.

The Blue and White and Likud parties can agree on something: a date for Israel’s third election in less than a year.

That will be March 2, they said, if a new government cannot be formed by the end of the day Wednesday. They’ve have had two weeks to get together and find 61 colleagues to agree to support a candidate for prime minister.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White head Benny Gantz previously were unable to form a government.

The Knesset must vote to support the election date agreed to Monday by the parties, the top vote-getters in the balloting from April and September. Israel’s parliament is expected to vote to dissolve itself on Wednesday night.

March 2 is a Monday. Elections are generally held in Israel on Tuesdays, but the Tuesdays in March include a holiday and remembrance days.

Also Monday, Blue and White’s Yair Lapid, who holds the party’s No. 2 slot, announced that he would give up a rotation agreement for the prime ministership that originally brought his centrist Yesh Atid party into Blue and White.

“If there are elections, we’ve decided that this time there won’t be a rotation agreement,” Lapid said. “We will go together, all of us, a large and united Blue and White behind Benny Gantz, our candidate for prime minister.”

The move is seen as helping the party in the potential election.

Marcy Oster
Marcy Oster

Israel-based JTA correspondent


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