Israeli coalition to submit bill to dissolve parliament

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Israeli coalition to submit bill to dissolve parliament

The leaders of Israel’s governing coalition have said they will submit a bill to dissolve parliament.

“After exhausting all efforts to stabilise the coalition, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and … (Foreign Minister) Yair Lapid have decided to submit a bill” dissolving parliament “next week”, the two leading coalition partners said in a statement on Monday.

They also said that if the bill is approved, Lapid will take over as prime ministser of a caretaker government.

The election would be Israel’s fifth in three years. Israeli daily Haaretz reported the election would be held on October 25.

Lapid and Bennett in June 2021 had formed an unlikely coalition after two years of political stalemate, ending the record reign of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The government of right-wing, liberal and Arab parties was fragile from the start.

With a razor-thin parliamentary majority and divided on major policy issues such as Palestinian statehood, Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, and state and religion issues, the eight-faction alliance began to fracture when a handful of members abandoned the coalition.

It lost its majority in Israel’s 120-seat parliament in April when a member of Bennett’s Yamina party announced her departure.

Recent divisions over the renewal of a measure that allows illegal Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank to live under Israeli law caused fresh friction, with some Palestinian lawmakers refusing to back it.

The alliance made a series of accomplishments, including passing the first national budget in several years and navigating a pair of coronavirus outbreaks without imposing any lockdowns.

But eventually it unraveled, in large part because several members of Bennett’s hard-line party objected to what they felt were compromises made by him to keep the coalition afloat and his perceived moderation.

The dissolution threatened to overshadow a visit scheduled next month by President Joe Biden. Israeli media quoted Biden’s ambassador, Tom Nides, as saying the visit would take place as planned.

The new vote could set the stage for a return to power by Netanyahu, who is now the opposition leader.

Opinion polls have forecast that Netanyahu’s hardline Likud will once again emerge as the largest single party. But it remains unclear whether he would be able to muster the required support of a majority of lawmakers to form a new government.