The new coalition government in Israel is ready to take office. Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu told President Izchak Herzog in a telephone call on Wednesday before the deadline at midnight.
The announcement paves the way for the leader of the right-wing Likud party to return to power in the coming days, as head of the most right-wing government in the country's history. His party released a short video of Netanyahu smiling and a recording of the conversation with Herzog.
The negotiations to form the right-wing religious government had turned out to be surprisingly difficult. With a view to the pending finalization of the power-sharing agreement by the coalition partners, Netanyahu said the process would be completed "as soon as possible in the coming week". A date for the swearing-in was not initially announced.
Netanyahu faces difficult tasks. The new government is dominated by far-right and ultra-Orthodox partners who are plotting dramatic changes that could alienate large sections of the Israeli public, deepen the conflict with the Palestinians, and put Israel on a collision course with close allies like the US.