Israeli politicians have passed a proposal to dissolve parliament and hold early elections in 2021 after the opposition slammed Benjamin Netanyahu’s management of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Wednesday afternoon, Lawmakers voted 61-54 in favor of dissolving the 23rd Knesset, which would trigger the fourth election in just two years if enacted.
The two dispersal bills that were approved in a preliminary reading must pass three more times in the assembly in order to become law and dissolve parliament.
During the debate, leader of the opposition Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid-Telem) presented his faction’s dispersal bill, saying: “The only thing that is uniting all the citizens of Israel these days is the sense that they have lost control over their lives.”
It’s all political interests and legal debates and tax breaks for Netanyahu and jobs for cronies. You care only about yourselves and in the meantime the State of Israel is not being managed. You are endangering our lives.
Meanwhile, Minister David Amsalem, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party, blamed the opposition for disrupting progress: “If you could have accused the prime minister of developing the coronavirus, that’s what you would have done. The truth does not interest you. You do not care what will happen here later, as long as Netanyahu will not be prime minister.”
Netanyahu’s minister also slammed Lapid, accusing the opposition leader of being a “demagogue” who thrives on hatred and lives off of “incitement and the spread of poison.”
Netanyahu retained the premiership in April this year after the two largest parties, Likud and Blue & White reached an agreement for a unity government.
Current Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz challenged Netanyahu at the three last elections, beating Netanyahu in September 2019 but being narrowly pipped by the incumbent prime minister in April 2019 and April 2020.
Gantz said on Tuesday that his party would back a bill to dissolve the Knesset as his shaky coalition with Netanyahu continues to unravel.
Gantz accused Netanyahu of reneging on a two-year budget plan that he accepted as part of a coalition government deal earlier this year.
If the bill passes three more readings, MKs will need to decide on a date for elections which would happen between March and June 2021.
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