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Monday, July 4, 2022

Israeli MPs take first step towards dissolving parliament

JERUSALEM. Israeli lawmakers voted to dissolve parliament in Wednesday’s advance ballot, setting in motion a mechanism to send the country to its fifth national election in three and a half years.

The development was the first step in a series of votes before the formal dissolution of the 120-seat Knesset. It comes two days after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced the dissolution of his crumbling ruling coalition of eight ideologically diverse parties just over a year after taking office.

The historic coalition that toppled longtime leader Benjamin Netanyahu has been torn apart by infighting and desertion in recent months. It included dove parties committed to a two-state solution with the Palestinians, hawkish ultra-nationalists opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state, and a small Islamist faction, the first Arab party to join the government.

A series of proposals to dissolve the parliament was passed by an overwhelming majority in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. But dissolving Parliament still requires a final vote on at least one of the proposals, and is expected to take place next week.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu smiles during a preliminary vote on a bill to dissolve parliament in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem, Wednesday, June 22, 2022.
Associated Press
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Left), Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (Center) And Prime Minister Naftali Bennett Attend A Preliminary Vote On A Bill To Dissolve Parliament In The Knesset, Israel'S Parliament, In Jerusalem, Wednesday, June 22, 2022.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz (left), Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (center) and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett attend a preliminary vote on a bill to dissolve parliament in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem, Wednesday, June 22, 2022.
Associated Press

Once it passes, Bennett will step down as prime minister and hand over the reins to his ally, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. New elections are expected to take place in October.

Bennett and Lapid formed their own coalition of parties, united solely by their opposition to Netanyahu last year after four inconclusive elections in 2019, 2020 and 2021. he was charged with corruption.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (Centre) Arrives For A Preliminary Vote On A Bill To Dissolve Parliament In The Knesset, Israel'S Parliament, In Jerusalem, Wednesday, June 22, 2022.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (centre) arrives for a preliminary vote on a bill to dissolve parliament in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem, Wednesday, June 22, 2022.
Associated Press
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Accepts Congratulations From Members Of His Likud Party After A Preliminary Vote On A Bill To Dissolve Parliament In The Knesset, Israel'S Parliament, In Jerusalem, Wednesday, June 22, 2022.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepts congratulations from members of his Likud party after a preliminary vote on a bill to dissolve parliament in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem, Wednesday, June 22, 2022.
Associated Press

Netanyahu is on trial and faces charges of fraud, breach of trust and taking bribes in three high-profile cases. He has denied any wrongdoing and has repeatedly denied accusations as part of a witch hunt to remove him from office.

Preliminary opinion polls released on Tuesday show that Netanyahu’s Likud party will remain the largest in parliament, but the path to forming a majority coalition remains unclear.

After the vote, Bennett tweeted that he would vote against a proposed law that would strip an MP accused of a crime of the right to serve as prime minister. Several senior members of his coalition said this week that they would push for a bill that would effectively make Netanyahu unable to retake office.

Bennett said that “definitely on the eve of the elections one should not try to change the rules of the game” and that Israeli voters should decide who should take office.

World Nation News Desk
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