Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, voted to dissolve itself, leading to new elections.
On Friday, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is scheduled to assume the position of interim prime minister under the terms of a coalition agreement reached between outgoing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Lapid last year.
Thursday’s vote ends 92-0 on Bennett’s premiership – one of the shortest stints in Israel’s history – and gives former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a path back to power.
New elections will be held on November 1 – the fifth round of voting for Israelis in less than four years. Recent opinion polls show former Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud party on track to win the most seats, but opinion polls do not show that his right-wing bloc will necessarily win enough seats to secure a parliamentary majority and be able to form a ruling government. .
Bennett said on Wednesday he would not run for re-election, saying it was “time to step back a bit” and “look at things from the outside.”
The coalition government has been swaying for weeks. But Bennett and Lapid’s announcement last week that they want to dissolve their government came as a complete surprise.
In the past few weeks, we’ve done everything we can to save this government. Bennett said earlier this month:And the Standing next to Lapid.
“Believe me, we have looked under every rock. We did this not for ourselves, but for our beautiful country, for you, citizens of Israel,” Bennett added.
Bennett Lapid’s government was sworn in in June last year, ending Netanyahu’s 12-year premiership.
The coalition consisted of at least eight political parties, and spanned the political spectrum, including for the first time an Arab party led by Mansour Abbas.
United in a desire to prevent Netanyahu – whose corruption trial has already begun in May 2020 – from remaining in power, the disparate coalition partners have agreed to put their core differences to one side.
Although it made major domestic and diplomatic achievements, it was domestic politics that eventually brought down the alliance.
Recent weeks have seen a number of coalition members resign or threaten to resign, leaving the government without a majority in parliament to pass legislation.
The political impasse came to a head earlier this month, when a Knesset vote failed to support the application of Israeli criminal and civil law to Israelis in the occupied West Bank.
Among other things, the regulation, which is renewed every five years, gives Israeli settlers in Palestinian territories the same rights they have within Israel’s borders, an article of faith for right-wing members of the coalition, including Prime Minister Bennett.
But two coalition members refused to support the bill, meaning it failed to pass.
Since Parliament was dissolved before the law expired on July 1, the regulation will remain in place until a new government is formed, at which time it will be put to a vote again.
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