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The New Arab

Israel's parliament looks to dissolve as Netanyahu fails to secure coalition

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's has been unable to form his desired coalition [AFP]

Date of publication: 27 May, 2019

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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has failed to form a majority coalition after his party secured the majority in April elections.
Israel's newly elected parliament is drafting a bill to dissolve itself. The move comes as a deadline to form a coalition government nears with no progress in sight.

If the bill passes, Israel would face its second election campaign in a matter of months.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appeared to have a clear path to a majority coalition after his Likud party secured 35 seats in 9 April elections and was set to become Israel's longest-serving prime minister, surpassing David Ben-Gurion, the country's founding father.

But his prospective government has been thrown into crisis in recent days with former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman refusing to bend to the demands of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties. He insists on passing a new law mandating the military draft of ultra-Orthodox men.

Lieberman said Monday he will not cave and prefer new elections instead. Without him, Netanyahu has no majority.

Netanyahu needs both Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu party and the ultra-Orthodox to form the coalition he is seeking.

Likud and its allies hold 65 seats in the 120-seat parliament, including Yisrael Beitenu's five and the ultra-Orthodox parties' 16.

A Likud spokesman said on Sunday that "if Lieberman continues to insist on taking down the government, the Likud has begun preparations ahead of elections".

Lieberman, a far-right former defence minister, has previously called on Netanyahu to end the truce with Hamas and radically change policy towards the Gaza-based group as a condition to join any right-wing coalition.

Thousands also protested on Saturday night against Netanyahu's reported attempts to seek immunity from prosecution as part of coalition negotiations.

Netanyahu faces potential indictment for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in the months ahead.

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