Israeli legislators cross draft proposal to dissolve Parliament | Center East

The vote is a major step in bringing Israel to its fourth national election in less than two years.

Israeli lawmakers have passed a tentative proposal to dissolve parliament, with the support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s key coalition partner, to bring the country into its fourth national election in less than two years.

The vote took place on Wednesday, just seven months after the coalition took office in a statement by national unity to deal with the coronavirus crisis.

But since then, the alliance between Netanyahu’s Likud party and Defense Secretary Benny Gantz’s blues and whites has been embroiled in endless fighting.

The vote only gave preliminary approval to end the alliance and to force new elections early next year.

The legislation will be put to a committee before going to parliament for final approval, possibly as early as next week.

Troubled alliance

In the meantime, Gantz and Netanyahu are expected to continue negotiations to preserve their troubled alliance.

When Gantz joined the opposition in Wednesday’s vote, he expressed dissatisfaction with Netanyahu and accused the prime minister of putting his personal interests before those of the country.

Netanyahu is on trial on a number of corruption charges, and Gantz has accused the Prime Minister of obstructing important government work, including passing a state budget, in hopes of halting or overturning the trial against him.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid, whose Yesh Atid party voted for new elections, accused the government of grossly ill-treated the coronavirus crisis and its economic aftermath.

He said the only thing that all citizens share is “a feeling of having lost control of their lives”.

Lack of budget

The government has not yet approved a 2020 budget – a result of the deep divisions created by its power-sharing agreement.

The lack of budget has created grave difficulties and cuts for Israelis at a time when unemployment is estimated at over 20 percent due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Israel has gone through two nationwide lockdowns since March, and officials are already warning that the rising infection rate could lead to a return to severe restrictions that were only recently lifted.

If a 2020 budget is not passed by December 23, Israeli law provides for an automatic dissolution of parliament and new elections.

Under the coalition agreement, Netanyahu will serve as prime minister until November 2021, after which the job will be transferred to Gantz for 18 months.

The only way Netanyahu can hold onto his place and step out of this agreement is if a budget is not passed.

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