Israel's Lapid closer to unseating Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year run as prime minister of Israel could be close to an end.

On Wednesday (June 2), opposition leader Yair Lapid moved in on unseating his rival after he agreed terms with several parties to form a coalition.

One of those is led byDefense Minister Benny Gantz, who is a centrist, like Lapid.

In a statement, Lapid's Yesh Atidand Gantz's 'Blue & White' party said they had agreed "on the outlines of government."

It's a blow to the conservative premier's chances of staying in power.

Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition after an inconclusive vote in March, leaving Lapid to try and build his own group.

Lapid - who is a former TV host and author - has until midnight Wednesday to present a final ruling group.

His main coalition partner would be the nationalist Naftali Bennett.

The two men have proposed rotating the premiership - with Bennett serving as prime minister first.

Seventy-one-year-old Netanyahu - who was first elected a quarter-century ago - has tried to discredit Bennett and other right-wingers negotiating with Lapid by claiming they are endangering Israel's national security.

He has left the door open to working with them by saying he is still capable of forming the next government.

If Lapid misses Wednesday's deadline it will mark the end of a 28-day presidential mandate to put together a coalition.

Parliament will then have three weeks to agree on a new candidate.

Should that fail, Israel will hold another election, its fifth in two years.

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