İrem UZUN -TDO- Israel is set to hold a third round of elections within 12 months, after a deadline to form a government passed with no politician able to bring together the disparate parties.A time limit to forge a majority coalition in the country’s parliament, the Knesset, expired at midnight on Wednesday, automatically triggering a fresh national ballot.By law, the poll cannot be held for three months, extending a political deadlock that has paralyzed the country deep into next year. Lawmakers were debating late into the night on holding the vote on 2 March.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who heads the right-wing Likud party, and his main rival Benny Gantz, a former army chief and leader of the centrist Blue and White alliance, were unable to build a governing coalition following an indecisive September general election. It is the second time this year that the leading parties failed to form a government after a national vote.

Ahead of Wednesday's deadline for any member of the Knesset to form a majority coalition, the prime minister released a video accusing Blue and White of "creating a flood of political spin"."They want to hide the fact that they did everything possible to avoid the establishment of a broad national unity government that would annex the Jordan Valley, apply Israeli sovereignty on the settlements in Judea and Samaria," he said, referring to the occupied West Bank."They forced new elections on us. It is unnecessary and in order to avoid it happening again there is one thing to do and that is to win, and win big - and that is what we'll do".

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