Israel coaliation to dissolve, country will hold 5th election in three years
- The election, expected in October or November, would be Israel’s fifth in three years
- The election could be Benjamin Netanyahu's chance to return to power
- Bennett has struggled to keep his unruly coalition of eight parties together
Israel is set to hold its fifth election in three years after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's office on Monday announced that the eakened coalition will be disbanded. The polls, expected to take place in October or November, could be former PM and current opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu's chance to come back into power.
Bennett has been at the helm of a coaliation of eight parties. He took office one year ago and has since struggled to keep them together. Defections have left the alliance without a majority in parliament for over two months.
Bennett and his main coalition partner, Yair Lapid, decided to present a vote to dissolve parliament in the coming days, Bennett's office said. Lapid is then to serve as caretaker prime minister.
The coaliation comprised right-wing, liberal and Muslim Arab parties. It was formed in June 2021 after four successive inconclusive elections. It made history by becoming the first Israeli coalition government to include an Arab party.
"After exhausting all efforts to stabilize the coalition, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and... Yair Lapid have decided to submit a bill" dissolving parliament "next week," two leading coalition partners released a statement.
Israel held four inconclusive elections between 2019 and 2021 that were largely referendums about Netanyahu’s ability to rule while on trial for corruption. Netanyahu denies wrongdoing.
Opinion polls have forecast that Netanyahu’s hardline Likud will once again emerge as the largest single party. But it remains unclear whether he would be able to muster the required support of a majority of lawmakers to form a new government.
“Netanyahu knows that the next election is his last chance. If he doesn’t succeed in forming a government next time, no one in Likud will agree to go with him for another round after everything we have been through,” a source close to Netanyahu told Times of Israel on Tuesday.
“Netanyahu had hoped to form a government within the current Knesset. It was ideal for him. But he quickly realized that it wasn’t possible with [Justice Minister] Gideon Sa’ar or anyone else in the [current] coalition,” the source said.