Israel Prepares for Elections Again with Lapid as Prime Minister, Summary:
- A vote to dissolve parliament is scheduled for next week.
- Bennett will give over the premiership to Lapid.
- Joe Biden is scheduled to visit soon.
- According to Israeli media, elections are anticipated in October.
JERUSALEM, 20 JUNE – After Prime Minister Naftali Bennett‘s fragile ruling coalition came under increasing strain, Israeli MPs will vote next week to dissolve parliament, paving the stage for the country’s sixth election in three years.
Bennett will stand down to be replaced by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, his partner in the unusual coalition of opposites that brought previous Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s record 12-year rule to an end a year ago.
Lapid, a former journalist and leader of the coalition’s largest party, will serve as interim prime minister until new elections can be called.
“We stand before you today in a difficult moment, but with the understanding that we made the correct decision for Israel,” Bennett said in a televised statement as he stood alongside Lapid. more info
According to Bennett’s spokesperson, a vote will be taken in parliament next week, after which Lapid will take over as premier.
The action comes only weeks before US President Joe Biden’s planned visit, which the government had hoped would assist strengthen regional security relations against Israel’s longtime foe Iran.
However, the eight-party coalition, which included hard-right, liberal, and Arab parties with sharp divisions on issues ranging from religion to the Palestinian conflict, was fraying as its slim majority was eroded by defections.
“I believe the government did an excellent job during the past year.” “It’s a shame the country has to be dragged into elections,” said Defence Minister Benny Gantz, leader of the coalition’s centrist party.
“However, we will continue to act as a provisional government to the greatest extent possible,” he stated.
The date of the sudden parliamentary election was not declared, but Israeli media speculated that it would be held in October.
Lapid stated that he would not wait for new elections to fix Israel’s challenges.
“We must address the expense of living, fight a battle against Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah, and oppose the forces that threaten to convert Israel into a non-democratic state,” he stated.
Bennett, a former commando and tech entrepreneur who entered national politics in 2013, defended his administration’s performance, claiming that it had increased economic growth, reduced unemployment, and erased the deficit for the first time in 14 years.
However, as pressure mounted on the government in recent days, he was unable to keep the coalition together and opted to resign before Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party could file its motion to dissolve parliament.
Netanyahu, who has pledged a comeback while facing corruption charges, claimed Likud would lead the next government and slammed Bennett, a right-wing lawmaker who was formerly one of his closest advisers.
“This evening, people are smiling,” Netanyahu told reporters in parliament. “They recognize that something significant occurred here. We are removing the country’s worst government in its history.”
In Gaza, the Palestinian Islamist party Hamas, which rejects Israel’s right to exist, vowed it will not change its policy in the face of a new government.
“We must resist reclaiming our people’s complete rights,” declared spokeswoman Fawzi Barhoum.
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