Israel is facing its fifth election in three years

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

That’s what Bennett’s office said IsraelRussia’s parliament will vote on its self-dissolution next week and that, as stipulated in the coalition agreement, Lapid will become interim prime minister. The election is likely to take place in October.

Bennett said in a televised address Monday night that the end of the government is not an “easy” moment, but that after “turning every stone” on preserving the coalition, dissolving parliament is now the “right decision” for the country.

The eight-party coalition has been slowly falling apart in recent weeks. She is struggling to pass legislation after the resignations of MPs first took away her single-mandate majority and then directed it to the minority administration.

Created a year ago by eight parties united in part by their desire to oust longtime Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud party, the coalition of Bennett and Lapid, was the most ideologically diverse in the country’s history.

He brought together right-wing religious nationalists and left-wing supporters of peace, and included, for the first time in Israeli history, an independent Arab-Israeli Islamist party.

The coalition took office after a period of political stalemate that led to four elections in just two years. Despite its weak majority, it managed to pass the first budget of Israel for more than two years and helped steer the country through the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, his ideological divisions have never been far from the surface, and in recent weeks desertion and the possible failure to pass various high-profile bills have sparked intense speculation about his resilience.

Among these failed to pass a bill to renew the rules which allow the application of parts of Israeli law to Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank. The rules expire in late June, and Bennett hinted that preventing the deadline was one of the reasons for the decision to dissolve parliament. If elections are called, the rules are automatically extended.

In his address, Lapid said he would focus on the most pressing challenges facing Israel. “We have to deal with the cost of living, campaign against Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, and face threatening forces to make Israel an undemocratic country,” he said.

The collapse of the government will give Netanyahu – who served as prime minister for a total of 15 years, including between 2009 and 2021 – and his Likud party a chance to return to office. Polls suggest Likud will be the largest party in a new parliament, but it is unclear whether he will be able to form a coalition government.

Johanan Plesner, head of the Israeli Institute for Democracy, said the decision to dissolve parliament shows that instead of overcoming the problems in Israeli politics that led to a series of unconvincing elections, the Bennett and Lapid governments have not put an end to “the worst political crisis in Israel. ”but instead simply pushed it into the background.

“This ongoing crisis will not end until Israeli leaders put their political differences aside and undertake long-scheduled electoral and constitutional reforms,” ​​he said.

However, Plesner added that despite his short tenure, he “played a historic role by involving an Arab party in the coalition and in the decisions taken by the national leadership, and therefore paved the way for greater involvement of the Arab minority in the political process and Israeli society.” generally”.

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