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Israeli parliament votes to hold new elections after Netanyahu fails to form coalition

The New Arab & agencies 

The Knesset voted 74-45 in favour of dissolving itself 

Israel’s parliament voted early Thursday to hold new elections in an unprecedented move provoked by Netanyahu’s attempts to remain in power despite failing to form a coalition. 

Israel’s parliament voted early Thursday to hold new elections only months after April polls in an unprecedented move provoked by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s attempts to remain in power despite failing to form a coalition. 

The Knesset, which came into office less than two months ago, voted 74-45 in favour of dissolving itself and setting elections for September 17. 

The vote was prompted by Netanyahu’s failure to reach a coalition deal even though his Likud party along with its right-wing and religious allies won a majority in April 9 elections. 

Ex-defence minister Avigdor Lieberman prevented an agreement by refusing to abandon a key demand, with his nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party’s five seats just enough to block Netanyahu’s efforts. 

As a result, Netanyahu pushed for new elections to prevent his nightmare scenario of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin selecting another parliament member to try to form a government. 

He voted in favour of holding new elections and was expected to speak shortly. 

Holding elections so close to one another will be unprecedented for Israel, but the stakes could not be much higher for the 69-year-old premier. 

Netanyahu is facing possible indictment for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in the months ahead and is reportedly seeking legislation in the new parliament that would result in him being granted immunity

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