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Israeli Knesset dissolves, sets 5th national elections in 4 years

 UPI News logo: MainLogo UPI News 6/30/2022 Clyde Hughes

June 30 (UPI) -- Israel's parliament on Thursday voted to dissolve and set new elections for November, which will be country's the fifth in less than four years, after an unsuccessful period with an experimental coalition government that ushered in a new prime minister.

After days of debate over setting the election date, the Knesset voted 92-0 in favor of disbanding. As part of the move, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett -- who succeeded longtime leader Benjamin Netanyahu after the last election -- will turn the post over to Yair Lapid on Saturday.

The move to dissolve was seen as necessary after Israel's broadest political coalition in history -- which, for the first time, included an Arab party -- fell apart as the various parties could not find enough common ground on key matters.

The coalition, which was driven by a goal of removing Netanyahu as prime minister after 12 years in office, lasted for a little more than a year after the fourth election in 2021. The previous three elections failed when lawmakers couldn't agree on a coalition government.

"We did everything we possibly could to preserve this government, whose survival we see as a national interest," Bennett said according to CNBC. "To my regret, our efforts did not succeed."

Lapid, from the Yesh Atid Party, will become a caretaker prime minister at midnight on Friday and will remain in the post until at least the interim period following the election on Nov. 1.

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Former Prime Minister and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu is seen in the Knesset in Jerusalem, Israel, on June 22. Thursday's dissolution means that Netanyahu could potentially make a return as prime minister in November. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI

Bennett has said that he will not lead his conservative Yamina Party in the new elections. Instead, interior minister Ayelet Shaked will be at the top of the Yamina ticket.

Although the dissolution of the Knesset was unanimously approved, some Israeli lawmakers were cautious about making such a move just over a year into the new coalition.

"I believe we gave up too soon," Knesset member Eitan Ginzburg of the Blue and White Party said according to The Jerusalem Post.

"Elections for the fifth time in four years are not a healthy thing for the country. We in the Knesset have created something special that had not seemed possible in the past."

Netanyahu, who faces corruption charges in Israel, could potentially return as prime minister. This week, he criticized the broad coalition that removed him from power.

"This is what happens when you mix together a fake right-wing party and extreme leftist parties, mixed with the Joint List -- that's what you get," he said according to the Post.

Polls have shown rising support for Netanyahu and his party, indicating that Israeli voters could well vote for his return in November.


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