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Israel heads to new elections after Bennett-led shaky coalition collapses

Israel's fragile coalition government will vote to dissolve the parliament next week, announced Israel's Prime Minister's Office on Monday, sending the country to the fifth elections in three years

israel | Elections


Naftali Bennett.  Photo: Bloomberg
Israel PM Naftali Bennett. Photo: Bloomberg

Israel's fragile coalition government will vote to dissolve the parliament next week, announced Israel's Prime Minister's Office on Monday, sending the country to the fifth in three years.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his main coalition partner Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid decided to present a bill to dissolve the parliament next Monday, the office said in a statement.

Once the parliament approves the bill, Lapid, leader of the centrist party of Yesh Atid, will rotate with Bennett and serves as interim prime minister until the next government is established, the office said.

The are expected to take place in October, Israel's state-owned Kan TV news reported.

"Citizens of Israel, we stand before you today in a difficult moment, but with the understanding that we have made the right decision for the people of Israel," Bennett said in a joint statement alongside Lapid, which was broadcast live on the country's main TV channels.

Bennett noted that he and Lapid decided on the move in the wake of their failure to pass regulations that provides protections to Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank.

The regulations will expire at the end of June, but the opposition, mostly composed of pro-settler parties, voted against a government-sponsored bill to extend them in order to force the coalition to resign.

Bennett, leader of the pro-settler party of Yamina, said he held a series of consultations with judicial and security officials on Friday that made him realize that the expiration of the regulation will create "horrible damages."

He said the coalition "left no stone unturned" in an attempt to raise enough votes to pass the bill in the parliament, but the efforts were "fruitless."

Bennett and Lapid have struggled to keep together the shaky coalition of eight parties since its establishment last year, but a series of defections left it without a majority in the parliament for more than two months.

Last week, Nir Orbach, a lawmaker with Bennett's Yamina party, announced he was resigning from the coalition because it had failed in "lifting Israelis' spirits."

After his leave, the coalition was left with only 59 seats in the 120-seat parliament. Other lawmakers also threatened to rebel.

Bennett's coalition was inaugurated in June 2021, after a string of inconclusive . It is made of parties with diverse ideologies, including pro-settler nationalists and dovish parties, united only with the goal of ousting longtime leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

The move threw a political lifeline to Bennett's predecessor Netanyahu, who is now the leader of the opposition and facing a criminal trial over corruption charges.

The leader of the right-wing Likud party celebrated the fall of the government, saying on Monday in a video statement that he and his opposition colleagues "struggled for a year" to topple the government.

"I and my friends will establish a new government ... that will restore the national pride of the people of Israel," he vowed.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Tue, June 21 2022. 07:14 IST