JERUSALEM — Yair Lapid, the centrist leader of the Israeli opposition, was asked on Wednesday to try to form a coalition government after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to do so by a Tuesday deadline.
Mr. Netanyahu remains caretaker prime minister and if Mr. Lapid cannot cobble together a government, the country could face another election this summer, its fifth general election in a little more than two years.
Mr. Lapid has 28 days to persuade a majority of the 120-seat Parliament to support him after the president, Reuven Rivlin, gave him the mandate to begin coalition negotiations.
In the March election campaign, Mr. Lapid, 57, ran on a promise to preserve checks and balances, and to prevent Mr. Netanyahu from remaining in office at the head of a right-wing, religious alliance that seeks to curb the power of the judiciary.
divisions and complexities of Israeli politics currently make it impossible for Mr. Lapid to win office without reaching a compromise with parts of the far right.
general election in March with 17 seats, behind Mr. Netanyahu’s right-wing party, Likud, with 30 seats.