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Israeli Parliament Dissolves Itself
International

Israeli Parliament Dissolves Itself

Israeli lawmakers unanimously voted Monday to dissolve parliament, officially ending the legislature’s term two years ahead of schedule and kicking off an election campaign ahead of a March 17 vote.
A week after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government dramatically disintegrated, the 120-seat Knesset voted 93-0 favor of disbanding and ending one of the shortest serving parliaments in Israeli history, the AP reported.
Early polls show Netanyahu likely returning to power. But a growing coalition of anti-Netanyahu factions threatens to depose the longtime leader.
Israel’s government, which took office in early 2013, had been riven by divisions from the outset over major issues facing Israel. Netanyahu’s fractious center-right Cabinet had been bickering for weeks over the budget, a housing tax break and a bill that would enshrine into law Israel’s status as a Jewish state.
Netanyahu is looking to secure a fourth term as premier by increasing support for his hardline Likud Party. He hopes to secure a strong majority for a “national bloc” that includes his traditional allies of ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s nationalist Yisrael Beitenu faction and the hard line Jewish Home party, which is strongly linked to the West Bank settler movement. This bloc tends to take a hard line in peace talks with the Palestinians.
In the last vote, the parties earned a combined 61 out of 120 seats in parliament. The majority proved too slim for Netanyahu to rule effectively and he was forced to reach out to two centrist parties, Yesh Atid and Hatnuah, to shore up his majority. Netanyahu’s feuds with these parties led to his decision to fire their ministers and call a new election.

 

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