Fri, 19 Aug 2022

Tel Aviv [Israel], June 30 (ANI): Israeli lawmakers on Thursday unanimously voted to dissolve the parliament, after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's coalition government lost its majority in the parliament, triggering an unprecedented fifth election in less than four years.

A parliamentary spokesperson, in a statement, said the 120-member Knesset voted 92-0 to dissolve and to hold the next elections on November 1.

Bennett is expected to hand power to Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, leader of the centrist Yesh Atid party, under the power-sharing deal they agreed upon following inconclusive elections in 2021.

"Immediately after the vote in the Knesset I went to @yadvashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center. There I promised my late father that I will always keep Israel strong and capable of defending itself and protecting its children," Lapid tweeted.

Lapid will officially become the caretaker prime minister on Friday and will hold the position until the next government is formed.

Last week, Israel's parliament passed the bill to dissolve itself in a preliminary reading after the ruling coalition lost its majority.

Bennett on Wednesday informed the members of his party that he has no plans to participate in the next parliamentary elections.

"Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has informed members of the right-wing faction of his intention not to run in the next election. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will remain as alternate prime minister," Sputnik quoted his office as saying.

Lapid's ascent to the top office comes ahead of US President Joe Biden's visit to Israel, the West Bank and Saudi Arabia in mid-July.

Analysts have predicted that Biden's visit may accompany an announcement about a warming of ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, two countries that have never had a formal diplomatic relationship, The New York Times (NYT) reported.

Mitchell Barak, a political analyst and pollster in Jerusalem, said Israelis are no longer surprised or even shaken by the rate at which they have gone to the polls. They are now grudgingly resigned to it, he said.

"By this point, Israelis have pretty low expectations," Barak told NYT. Voters were shocked to return three times to the ballot box in 2019 and 2020. But by the fourth election in 2021, Barak added, "it felt like this is just how we do things here." (ANI)

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