Prime Minister Netanyahu: “In order to prevent this [from] happening again, there is only one thing we must do: win and win big.”
Israel is heading for a third election in eleven months after repeated rounds of negotiations failed to yield a coalition government.
In consecutive elections, which took place in April and September, neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party nor the opposition Blue and White alliance managed to secure a majority in a 120-seat Knesset, Israel’s parliament.
In September, Blue and White alliance, led by former army chief Benny Gantz, got 33 seats, as opposed to 32 seats won by Netanyahu’s Likud party. Both blocs failed to cobble together a 61-seat majority in the Knesset.
The deadline set by President Reuven Rivlin expired at midnight on Wednesday, triggering the third round of elections.
Netanyahu, who did not attend last night’s Knesset session, called out his political rivals for forcing a new election.
“In order to prevent this [from] happening again, there is only one thing we must do: win and win big,” he said in a video message posted on social media.
Israeli TV channel i24News reported Wednesday night’s Knesset proceedings that led to the new election:
After months of deadlocked talks and the indictment of the prime minister, Israel moved Wednesday to its third election in 12 months, a first in the history of the Jewish state.
The elections will likely deepen polarization and fuel deep dissatisfaction with politicians that have been unable to form a government in a year. (…)
MPs [members of parliament] had until 23.59 to find a candidate capable of gaining a majority in the parliament, or Knesset but the deadline passed, meaning parliament dissolves and the country returns to the polls in March.
MPs were expected to confirm the exact date and confirmed election procedures and financing in the early hours of Thursday.
Lawmakers proposed March 2, 2020 as the date for the vote, but should they fail to agree the date will automatically be set for 90 days from today — March 10.
The political uncertainty comes at a crucial time for the Jewish state. The Iranian regime continues to advance its nuclear missile program. Tehran’s tentacles are reaching out all across the Middle East, creating havoc in the neighboring Gulf States, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran-funded terror organizations, Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, have carried out numerous attacks against the Israeli army and civilians. The Islamic regime in Tehran has repeated its threats to destroy the Jewish state in recent days, even as it mows down its own people protesting in the streets.
The political crisis has been deepened by charges of corruption faced by Netanyahu. Last month, the Israeli attorney general indicted him on charges of corruption, paving the way for three separate court cases. The country’s longest-serving prime minister denies wrongdoing, calling his indictment an “attempted coup.” The timing of the announcement “highlights how much this decision is tainted by extraneous considerations, aiming to bring down a right-wing Prime Minister,” he said in a televised addressed at that time.
Netanyahu will remain in office, running a caretaker government until a new government is formed.
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