Israel sets a March 2 election date if government isn’t formed.
View of a voting notes at a voting station in Jerusalem, during the Knesset Elections, on September 17, 2019. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

By Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — 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. Israeli lawmakers have until the end of the day Wednesday to form a coalition government or move to another election. 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.

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