Israeli lawmakers dissolve parliament, heads to new parliamentary election

RAMALLAH, The Israeli Knesset (parliament) passed a new bill Wednesday to dissolve itself and go to new parliamentary elections on September 17.

Israeli local media said 74 Members of Parliament (MP) approved the bill to dissolve the parliament, while 45 MPs were against it.

The move comes after Israeli Prime Minister designate Benjamin Netanyahu, the head of the party (Likud) and the nationalist Yisrael Beitenu headed by Avigdor Lieberman failed to form the next coalition government.

“We are heading to new elections because of the intransigence of the Likud and its determination to turn the state into a state of religious coercion in partnership with the ultra-Orthodox parties and we will not be partners in a government of this kind,” Lieberman was quoted as saying.

Netanyahu appeared set for a fifth term after his Likud Party won 35 of the Knesset’s 120 seats in April’s election, but he could not reach a deal with former Defense Minister Lieberman, whose support became vital.

Lieberman, from the nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party, had conditioned allying with ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties on changes to their military draft exemptions.

Netanyahu pushed for new elections to prevent Israeli President Reuven Rivlin selecting another member of parliament to try to form a government.

Speaking to reporters after the vote Netanyahu said: “We’ll run a sharp, clear election campaign which will bring us victory. We’ll win, we’ll win and the public will win.” The prime minister is also facing fraud and bribery charges in the coming months and has been accused of attempting to secure for himself immunity from prosecution.

Source: Kuwait News Agency