Ayelet Frish, the spokeswoman for Israeli President Shimon Peres, detailed the President’s timeline for selecting which party will get first crack at forming the next Israeli government. “The president will start consultations on Wednesday night. He will meet representatives of Kadima that evening and then Likud. The following days he will meet representatives of the other parties and should conclude his meetings after two or three days.”
That would mean that likely we will know which party will be given a 42-day period to form a government by next weekend. Assuming that party is unable to, the process will repeat until a government is formed. A split polity makes it entirely possible the process could take months.
Most expect that the Likud Party will be given the first opportunity, given the right wing’s relative strength in the wake of the election. Still, the Kadima Party has said they are in no hurry to join a Likud government, and would be comfortable as part of the opposition. With the right-wing parties at odds with one another, there is no clear path to a Likud government if they cannot lure either Kadima or the Labor Party on board.
High ranking Kadima member Shaul Mofaz, who Netanyahu was reportedly offering the position of Defense Minister in a unity government, is pressing for Kadima to join a unity government, and Israel Army Radio has suggested the Kadima Party may break apart over the question of joining a Likud government.