Jerusalem: Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced on Monday that his party will not join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's new government, which he said will not serve "national interests."
Lieberman's announcement was perceived as a significant setback for Netanyahu, who is struggling to put together a wide coalition ahead of a looming deadline.
Under Israeli law, Netanyahu, whose Likud party won the recent elections, must present a coalition of more than 60 members by Wednesday.
Lieberman, who leads far-right Yisrael Beitenu which won six seats in the March 17 parliamentary election, told a news conference that he resigned his current position as foreign minister and that his group would go to the opposition, Xinhua news agency reported.
According to Israeli law, if Netanyahu fails to form a new government by May 6, the president can task a different political leader to do so.
Lieberman said the coalition agreements signed by Netanyahu with other allies convinced him that the future government would not serve "national interests, but (will serve) opportunists".
On Wednesday, Netanyahu's Likud signed its first coalition agreements with the centrist, economics-focused Kulanu party, and the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism.