Amid Coalition Talks Impasse, Israeli Knesset Takes First Step Toward New Elections
Israel moved toward new elections on Monday as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to form a government following a national ballot just last month remained deadlocked.
In a preliminary vote, parliament decided to dissolve itself. In order to disperse and set an election date, legislators would still have to hold a final vote, likely to take place on Wednesday.
Netanyahu, who claimed victory on behalf of his right-wing Likud party in an April 9 election, has until 2100 GMT on Wednesday to put a government together, after being delegated the task by President Reuven Rivlin six weeks ago.
In power for the past decade and facing potential corruption indictments, Netanyahu has struggled to seal an agreement with a clutch of right-wing, far-right and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties that would ensure him a fifth term.
Divisions between former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu party and United Torah Judaism over a military conscription bill governing exemptions for ultra-Orthodox Jewish seminary students have plunged the coalition talks into stalemate.