JERUSALEM — Scrambling to meet a midnight deadline, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formed a narrow governing coalition Wednesday with only a razor-thin majority in parliament.

Netanyahu’s control of just 61 seats in the 120-member Knesset is a far cry from the 67-seat majority he was expected to command after his Likud Party won an overwhelming election victory in March. The one-vote margin left his new government vulnerable to collapse if just one of the partners withdraws.

“A coalition of 61 will be very fragile, and Netanyahu will find it very difficult to make major reforms. That’s the ironic outcome of the election,” said Yohanan Plesner, president of the Israel Democracy Institute, an independent research center.

Netanyahu said he hoped to win additional partners.

“Sixty-one is a good number — 61 plus is even better — but it starts with 61, and we will get started,” he said.

Netanyahu said he’d notify President Reuven Rivlin that he’d succeeded in forming a coalition by Wednesday’s deadline and would present his new Cabinet next week.

When he called snap elections following dissension in his outgoing Cabinet last year, Netanyahu had been confident that he’d emerge with a more manageable coalition.

But weeks of post-election political horse-trading and an eleventh hour desertion by a former ally, outgoing Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, had left Netanyahu struggling to close a deal with the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home party to cement the coalition.

“Now we’re ending up with a situation that is even less stable than before,” Plesner said.

“A narrow government is big trouble for the Knesset,” said Yuli Edelstein, the speaker of the Knesset and a member of Likud.