For the first time in a decade, it appears more likely than not that someone other than Benjamin Netanyahu will be prime minister of Israel by the end of the year. Attorney General Avichai Mandelbit’s announcement last week that he intends to indict Netanyahu on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust, pending a hearing, kicked off an inexorable process that probably doesn’t end in Netanyahu’s triumph.

First, about that pending hearing: There is virtually no chance it will end in the dismissal of all the charges against the prime minister. Mandelblit reportedly only advanced the strongest charges and made the decision early on to adversely analyze the conclusions made by his prosecutors before releasing them (basically, he put himself in the position of Netanyahu’s attorney). According to Ma’ariv’s Ben Caspit, most of the prosecution team supported indicting Netanyahu for bribery in Cases 1000 and 2000, the cases that ended in charges for “only” fraud and breach of trust. In the latter case, in which Netanyahu is on tape negotiating a bribe with Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Noni Mozes, 21 of 23 prosecutors working on the case supported bribery charges, according to Caspit. Mandenlbit’s zealous scrutiny of the charges does not augur well for those pinning their hopes on the sort of oversights and reaches that would get an indictment thrown out in a hearing.

Second, Likud’s electoral strategy and the broader interests of the right bloc, which was previously Netanyahu’s firewall, are at loggerheads. Likud’s predominant goal now is to surpass or at least come within a seat or two of Kachol Lavan, the centrist alliance led by Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid, Moshe Ya’alon, and Gabi Ashkenazi (Netanyahu won’t be asked to form a government if his party finishes 7 or 8 seats behind Kachol Lavan and the right bloc does not have 61 MKs). The first goal will probably be to win back the 17 percent or so of 2015 Likud voters who now say they will support Kachol Lavan, but it’s exceedingly difficult to carefully manage an ideological vacuum cleaner; Yisrael Beiteinu is already below the electoral threshold and Kulanu’s survival appears less likely by the week. Indeed, the Likud voters who switched to Kachol Lavan may well be of the moderate disposition and thus won’t be persuaded by campaign propaganda that portrays three former IDF chiefs of staff as leftists. A “cannibalization” strategy in this election won’t simply shift votes from other right-wing parties to Likud; it will do that and kick some of those parties out of the Knesset, ultimately preventing the right from winning an outright majority.

So even if Likud does manage to surpass Kachol Lavan, it will nevertheless be difficult for Netanyahu to make the case that only he should be prime minister if the right doesn’t have a majority. In an outlandish scenario, that could result in another election, but I wouldn’t count on the ultra-Orthodox parties’ willingness to subject themselves to another vote on Netanyahu’s behalf. If Kachol Lavan sticks to its commitment not to sit in a government led by an indicted premier, Netanyahu doesn’t have a realistic alternative that puts him at the top. It’s a narrow right-wing coalition, including the Kahanist party Otzma Yehudit, or bust.

But even if the right bloc wins 61 seats and Netanyahu is once again named prime minister, his time in office probably won’t last long. He will be a lame duck’s lame duck. After the charges are made official, his ability to serve will immediately be challenged in the High Court. Even if it rules in his favor, the game can’t go on forever. In the best of circumstances, Prime Minister of Israel is a 25-hour-a-day job. Soon enough, it will end — perhaps by way of a generous plea agreement that keeps him out of prison in exchange for his resignation and a ban from seeking public office again. And it will be a in matter of months and not years.