Israel: Parliament paves way for new parliamentary elections

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (c) arrives at the Knesset ahead of the vote, in Jerusalem, Wednesday, December 2, 2020. AP - Alex Kolomoisky

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5 mins

It is one more step towards the fourth parliamentary elections in less than two years in Israel.

Parliament voted this Wednesday in preliminary reading in favor of its dissolution: 61 votes in favor, 54 votes against.

The vote is not yet final, but the coalition between Benyamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz is increasingly fragile.

The two main formations of the executive are launched in a standoff that risks causing the fall of the government. 


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With our correspondent in Jerusalem,

Guilhem Delteil

For the Israeli government, the threat of a fall is now twofold.

The first is this bill to dissolve the Knesset, passed in preliminary reading: it still has three votes to pass before being definitively adopted, but the text will continue its journey from next week.

The second is the obligation to have a budget adopted before December 23;

the debate has not yet started.

The race against time is therefore twofold and the gap between the two main formations of the coalition is only growing.

Benny Gantz, who is demanding the adoption of a budget - the first to be voted in nearly three years - needs to show his firmness against Benjamin Netanyahu.

His electorate reproaches him for having believed in the promises of the Prime Minister and he can no longer afford to invoke the national interest to make concessions.

Benyamin Netanyahu, he wants to bend his partner and obtain an additional time for the vote of the budget in order to use this card in a few months to cause new elections according to a schedule which he considers more favorable.

The two men scrutinize all the polls: they only have a few days left to decide the future of their union.

Read also: Israel: a big step towards a fourth legislative campaign in less than two years

♦ The divergent interests of Gantz and Netanyahu

The vote in Parliament marks the extreme fragility of this government supposed to offer a sharing of power between Benyamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, as explained by Yohanan Plezner, a former centrist MP and president of the Israel Institute of Democracy.

Mr. Gantz's interests are complex.

He dreads a new election very much: his base is very disappointed that he has joined the government and allowed Mr. Netanyahu to form a new government.

It is falling in the polls.

And that also explains why he can no longer give in to Mr. Netanyahu.

So he is in a paradoxical situation.

Benyamin Netanyahu, for his part, is obviously seeking an exit from this government so that he does not have to give up the post of Prime Minister in November 2021. At the same time, he would prefer to hold the elections later than the month of March like the month of June.

Mr. Netanyahu hopes that his popularity will continue to rise when vaccines begin to flow and the country begins to emerge from the economic crisis.

He hopes the images of him in court have become trivialized, that it will be a scene that voters get used to.

Yohanan Plezner, former centrist MP and president of the Israel Institute of Democracy

Guilhem Delteil


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  • Israel

  • Benjamin Netanyahu

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