The collapse of the Israeli coalition government after a majority vote in the Knesset led to the current government’s dissolution. The country is set for its fifth election in three and a half years. The outgoing Prime Minister Naftali Benett and his counterpart Yair Lapid, who also served as Foreign Minister in the coalition government, announced their dismissal and the dissolution of the 36th Knesset of Israel so far. Mitchell Barak, a political analyst, and pollster in Jerusalem said Israelis are no longer surprised or even shaken by the rate at which they have gone to the polls. They are now grudgingly resigned to it.
Benett and Lapid formed a coalition of eight parties last year, based on the right-wing, left-wing, as well as Islamic representation of Palestinian citizens of Israel. From the start, the coalition government of right-wing, liberal, and Arab parties was precarious. These ideological differences in one coalition were a first for Israel. When a handful of coalition members left, the eight-faction alliance began to splinter. and resulted in the dissolution of the parliament in power.
Benjamin Netanyahu has been Prime Minister of Israel for the past 15 years. The new vote could pave the way for former Prime Minister and current opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu to return to power. Netanyahu has vowed that his alliance of right-wingers, ultra-nationalists, and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties will win the upcoming election, but polls show that he may struggle to secure a parliamentary majority.
The proportional representation system in Israel means voters cast their ballots, not for a party, not for a person—the percentage of seats a party will take in the 120-seat Knesset. To win the elections, the party needs to get sixty-one seats to form a government with a majority vote. Because a single party can’t gain this large number of seats, it means that coalitions involving several parties are necessary.
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What has happened in Israel in recent years reflects the instability of regimes and politics. However, there is currently a problem preventing long-term coalition governments from taking office.
Who will run for PM candidates?
According to his spokesman, Bennett announced to Yamina lawmakers on Wednesday “his intention not to stand at the next elections,” as MPs prepared to dissolve Israel’s current legislature, paving the way for elections later this year. He will continue to serve as alternately prime minister in a caretaker government led by Yair Lapid, the coalition’s architect, and current foreign minister.
Yair Lapid is a TV show host turned politician, popular for his good looks and acting in movies as well. As he prepares to take on a Prime Ministerial candidate under the power-sharing deal, The challenges they face will not wait, Mr. Lapid said as he stood alongside Mr. Bennett to announce the end of their coalition government, which was beset by infighting and had lost its razor-thin majority. He listed the pressing issues he viewed for Israel, beginning to sound like he was already on the campaign trail: high living costs and security threats in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, and Iran.
Lapid earlier worked with Netanyahu under his coalition government and served as finance minister, until the disagreements between the two led Lapid to leave. After successive elections over the years, Lapid established himself as an opposition leader. When Netanyahu was charged with corruption in 2018, he was said to be the primary witness to his falsification. On the other hand, Netanyahu, who is now the opposition leader, could make his comeback, owing to his ideological inclination and his alliance of right-wingers, ultra-nationalists, and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties. The possibility of him winning the elections is underlain in his manifesto.
Pro-Netanyahu lawmakers have stated that they are working to form a new government before parliament dissolves. An early election would be thwarted by this unlikely scenario. While Benjamin Netanyahu, who is running for a sixth term, will try to portray his bitter rival as weak on security, particularly when it comes to Iran and terrorism, the challenge for Yair Lapid is to demonstrate that he can protect Israel from its enemies while also promoting domestic unity. He must also overcome criticism that he represents a narrow, privileged Tel Aviv elite.
The government under Benett was praised globally for its inclusion in a time of political identity politics and its holistic approach to foreign policy, dealing with the pandemic phase and improving ties with the US and Arab allies. He is expected to be more moderate than his recent predecessors on the key issue of Israel’s long-running conflict with the Palestinians. On the other hand, Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged that his alliance will win and come back to power. However, his recent charges of deception, breach of trust, and receiving bribes in three separate corruption cases could be a game-changer for him.
The question now is whether a fresh round of elections will result in the formation of a government capable of lasting. “In principle, there is no limit,” said Diskin, referring to the election cycles. “According to the law, this could go on forever.”