Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu thinks the deal with Iran is a huge mistake and demands that Tehran recognises Israel AFP/Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has just a few hours to put together a government that can reach a majority in Israel's parliament over six weeks since winning the election.

Despite wining a surprise 30 seats, Netanyahu's reputation for making enemies with the other right-wing leaders he needs to make a coalition appears to be coming home to roost.

Netanyahu's hopes to put together a right-wing coalition took a major blow on 4 May after controversial former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman pulled out of the negotiations and pledged to take his Yisrael Beitenu party – and its six seats – into opposition.

By 5 May, Netanyahu had managed to sign deals with Moshe Kahlon's centrist Kulanu and two ultra-Orthodox parties bringing his tally up to 53 seats – eight short of a majority in Israel's 120-seat parliament, the Knesset.

If he cannot pull together another nine votes before midnight on 6 May (10pm GMT) then Israel's President Reuven Rivlin will ask another Member of the Knesset (MK) to try and form a government, likely Labour leader Isaac Herzog.

It is likely Netanyahu will be able to persuade the right-wing Jewish Home party – headed by Naftali Bennett – to join his government, and the eight seats that it won on 17 March would be enough to secure a majority in the senate. But there is also little love lost between Netanyahu and Bennett

However, a slim 61-seat majority would leave Netanyahu relying on backbench MKs from across the political spectrum to prop up his agenda. This will be all the more difficult given that Kahlon has promised wide-ranging and controversial economic reforms.

It was Netanyahu's weakness in his former governing coalition that caused the Likud leader to dissolve it and call snap elections at the end of 2014. As it stands, the prime minister could be faced with an even more unstable governing coalition than the last.