Israel may face fourth election in just two years

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Dec 02, 2020, 12:11 PM(IST)

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) listens to Foreign Affairs and Defence committee chair Zeev Elkin during a committee meeting at parliament in Jerusalem June 2, 2014 Photograph:( Reuters )

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The Netanyahu-Gantz unity government, agreed in April, was in part aimed at providing Israel desperately-needed stability following the worst political crisis in its history and as the coronavirus pandemic was gathering pace.

Israel's Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz on Tuesday, said that his party will vote for the opposition's bill to dissolve the parliament. If this happens, Israel will be one step closer to witnessing fourth election in under two years. Gantz's Blue and White party is the key partner in the current ruling coalition led by PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

The coalition is precarious, and it was formed after three bitterly fought elections between Netanyahu and Gantz. However, these elections failed to produce a clear winner.

Gantz, a former army chief serving as defence minister, said that Netanyahu's refusal to support a budget proposal made clear that the premier wanted to take Israel back to the polls. 

In a televised address he said that Blue and White "will vote tomorrow in favour of dissolving the Knesset (Israel's parliament)." 

Wednesday's vote on an opposition-backed measure is however preliminary. 

If it passes, it will still require at least two additional successful Knesset readings before a new election must be called.

Shortly before Gantz spoke, Netanyahu released a video on Twitter in which he urged Gantz to vote against the measure. 

"Now is not the time for elections," Netanyahu said. "Now is the time for unity."

The Netanyahu-Gantz unity government, agreed in April, was in part aimed at providing Israel desperately-needed stability following the worst political crisis in its history and as the coronavirus pandemic was gathering pace. 

Netanyahu was to serve as prime minister for the first half of the three year deal, with Gantz taking over in November 2021. 

The deal included several provisions that would have automatically triggered the collapse of the coalition, including a failure to pass a budget. 

Netanyahu's critics accuse of him of refusing to pass a two-year budget as a tactic to ensure he is not forced to hand over the prime minister's job to Gantz. 

(With AFP inputs)

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