Israel faces fifth election in three years

Israel is facing its fifth election in three years after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yar Rapid said they had “exhausted their options to stabilize” a coalition government.

Bennett’s Office says IsraelThe parliament will vote to dissolve itself next week and – as foreseen in the coalition agreement – Lapid will become interim prime minister. Elections are likely to be held in October.

In a televised address on Monday night, Bennett said the government’s end was not an “easy” time, but that “everything was done” to preserve the coalition and that dissolving parliament was now the “right decision” for the country.

The eight-party coalition has been slowly splitting in recent weeks and has struggled to pass legislation after defections from MPs first stripped it of a one-seat majority. transfer it to a minority government.

Formed a year ago by eight parties, in part because they wanted to overthrow Israel’s long-serving leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his right-wing Likud, Bennett Rapid’s coalition is the most ideologically diverse in the country’s history.

It brings together right-wing religious nationalists and pro-peace left-wingers. It includes the first independent Arab-Israeli Islamic party in Israeli history.

The coalition came to power after a period of political stalemate that led to four elections in just two years. Despite its majority, it managed to pass Israel’s first budget in more than two years and helped guide the country through the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the coalition’s ideological divisions have never been far from the surface, with defections and the government’s failure to pass various high-profile bills in recent weeks, sparking intense speculation about its durability.

which failed to pass bill Updates to rules that allow parts of Israeli law to apply to Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank. Those rules are due to expire at the end of June, and Bennett hinted that blocking was one of the reasons for the decision to dissolve parliament. If an election is announced, the rules will automatically be extended.

In his speech, Rapid said he would now focus on the most pressing challenges facing Israel. “We need to address the cost of living, campaign against Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, and oppose the forces that threaten to turn Israel into an undemocratic state,” he said.

The fall of the government would give Netanyahu — who served as prime minister for a total of 15 years, including the period from 2009 to 2021 — and his Likud group a chance to return to office. Opinion polls suggest Likud will be the largest party in the new parliament, but it is unclear whether it will also be able to form a coalition government.

Johanan Pressner, director of the Israel Democracy Institute, said the decision to dissolve the parliament showed that Bennett and Rapid’s governments were not addressing “Israel’s worst political crisis” rather than overcoming a series of The Israeli political issue of the results of the elections. And just push it to the background.

“This ongoing crisis will not end until Israel’s leaders set aside political differences and implement long overdue electoral and constitutional reforms,” ​​he said.

However, Pressner added that despite the government’s short term, it “played a historic role in bringing Arab parties into coalition and national leadership decisions, thus paving the way for greater Arab participation. The Road. The Political Process and Minorities in the Whole Israeli Society”.

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