With Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman’s announcement on Wednesday that he will only support a national unity government and not any other options, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz’s unwillingness to make the compromises necessary to form one, a third election in less than a year looked closer than ever.Gantz had until midnight to form a government, but by 8 p.m., he informed President Reuven Rivlin that he did not succeed. Gantz did not have the option of a 14-day extension after failing to form a government after 28 days, like the first candidate does, according to Basic Law: Government.The Knesset will have 21 days, until December 11 at midnight, to find a new candidate for prime minister. The candidate must have 61 votes in his or her favor, and it can be Netanyahu or Gantz, even though they failed to build a coalition before, or any other member of Knesset.During the 21 days, Rivlin may hold further meetings with the leaders of the Knesset's factions, as he has done since the election in September. He could also get more involved in the negotiations process, but has mostly refrained from doing so up to this point. The exception was presenting his idea of how a rotation for prime minister between Gantz and Netanyahu, which Blue and White has thus far rejected, but could still be enacted if one of the candidates gets 61 signatures in the 21 days.If a majority of MKs find a candidate that they support, they must submit their signatures to President Reuven Rivlin and ask him to give the job to the person they chose, who must also put his or her agreement to it in writing. If a candidate is recommended by at least 61 MKs in less than 21 days, Rivlin does not have to wait until the end of that period of time to appoint him or her. Within two days, Rivlin must officially task that candidate with forming a government, and the candidate will then have 14 days in which to do so.In a letter to MKs sent Wednesday evening, Knesset Legal Adviser Eyal Yinon pointed out that much is left vague in the language of the law, such as who submits the request to the president, how does an MK join it, can an MK take his or her signature back, and can an MK sign more than one request.As such, Yinon set ground rules for the lawmakers, based what the law does say and its purpose.Yinon created a form for MKs to use to gather signatures, and said they must be original signatures, not a stamp, fax or e-signature. The candidate or someone representing him or her may gather the signatures; someone may collect signatures for a candidate without his or her agreement, but the candidate must agree before the president tasks him or her with forming the next government.The legal adviser also authorized MKs to sign more than one petition, as a way to "exhaust every possibility to form a government after the first two steps in the process failed." Allowing MKs to support multiple candidates "gives maximum leeway for MKs at this time, while examining the different candidates' potential."An MK can revoke his or her signature as long as it wasn't already submitted to the president.The first request submitted to Rivlin is the one he must honor. Yinon said Rivlin must post the letter and signatures on his official website.Should the Knesset fail to find a candidate for prime minister by the end of December 11, the law says an election should be held on the last Tuesday within 90 days. Yinon wrote that if the Knesset does find a candidate, but then the government he or she presents to the Knesset – following the procedure for any new government - is voted down, “the process cannot be revived,” and an election is called for 90 days later.The 90th day after the Knesset’s deadline is Tuesday, March 10, which is the holiday of Purim.The election is unlikely to be held on Purim, as Central Election Committee Director-General Orly Ades told The Jerusalem Post that the Knesset can vote to postpone the election by up to 10 days, which means March 17 is the likely date for Israel’s third election within one year.