Israel’s governing coalition is at an end – and ex-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hoping for a return to power: the incumbent government wants to dissolve parliament and thus pave the way for new elections. She no longer has a majority in the Knesset and recently failed in an important vote.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said at a press conference in Jerusalem on Monday evening that the eight-party coalition wants parliament to vote on its dissolution next week.
Until a new government is sworn in, the current foreign minister, Jair Lapid, will temporarily take over the office of prime minister.
Netanyahu is counting on being able to regain this post as a result of the political turbulence. When the XL coalition merged just over a year ago, the main thing that united them was the desire to prevent the controversial long-term prime minister from returning to power. The opposition leader, accused of corruption, had previously been prime minister for more than a decade.
According to polls, Netanyahu’s Likud party could become the strongest force again in a new election. However, it is unclear whether “Bibi”, as he is called in Israel, will succeed in forming a government this time.
According to media reports, the election could take place at the end of October. It would be the fifth in three and a half years. And the formation of a government majority is unlikely to be an easy task this time either.
Bennett cited the failure of a vote in Parliament as the main reason for the dissolution of the incumbent coalition. It was about the continued application of Israeli law to Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories. The eight-party coalition was unable to secure a majority for the vote.
The dissolution of the Knesset means that Israeli law will continue to apply to the settlers for the time being. Otherwise, the regulation would have expired at the end of June. Their end would have meant massive problems for settlers in terms of taxes and health insurance. The mostly right-wing opposition was in principle in favor of an extension of the regulation, but nevertheless blocked it in order to put pressure on the government.
Bennett’s government alliance has been shaky for a long time. In April, the political community of convenience lost its wafer-thin majority of 61 of the 120 seats because a member of parliament had turned his back on the coalition.
A week ago, another member announced that he would be leaving soon. This would leave Bennett’s coalition with a minority of 59 to 61 seats in the Knesset.
“We formed a good government and got Israel out of the crisis together,” Bennett said. Under the leadership of what Netanyahu called “the worst government in Israeli history,” parliament passed a budget for the first time in years. Netanyahu’s government had failed in this task.