Israeli legislators will vote to dissolve parliament, opening the way for the country’s fifth election in three years, following weeks of pressure on Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s fragile governing coalition.
Bennett will step aside to be replaced by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, his partner in the unlikely coalition of opposites that ended former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s record 12-year rule 12 months ago.
Bennett and Lapid decided to present a vote to dissolve parliament in the coming days, Bennett’s office said on Monday. Lapid is then to serve as caretaker prime minister until new elections can be held.
Announcing the plan to disband the government during a nationally televised news conference, Bennett said he had made “the right decision” in difficult circumstances.
“Together, we got Israel out of the pit. We accomplished many things in this year. First and foremost, we brought to centre stage the values of fairness and trust,” Bennett said, standing alongside his main partner, Lapid. “We shifted to a culture of ‘we,’ ‘together.’”
Lapid and Bennett in June 2021 formed the coalition after two years of political stalemate, ending Netanyahu’s stay in power.
The government of right-wing, liberal and Arab parties was fragile from the start.
With a razor-thin parliamentary majority and divided on major policy issues such as Palestinian statehood, Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, and state and religion issues, the eight-faction alliance began to fracture when a handful of members abandoned the coalition.
It lost its majority in Israel’s 120-seat parliament in April when a member of Bennett’s Yamina party announced her departure.