Israel Headed for a New Election after Netanyahu Fails to Make Coalition
Israeli Premier Binyamin Netanyahu will have to pull another rabbit out of his hat if he is going to surpass the longevity of founding prime minister David Ben Gurion. Unable to weave together a coalition of at least 61 out of 120 parliamentary seats following his dramatic win on April 9, it was decided late Wednesday that a new election will be held once it was determined that talks between Netanyahu and Avigdor Liberman, his former defense minister who abruptly quit and pulled his party from the last government, had broken down. The quick dissolution of a newly-elected government and the return to the ballot box is unprecedented in the history of Israeli elections, but the lawmakers voted to do so by a vote of 74 to 45. Notably, it was Netanyahu’s putative allies who ultimately brought down the government, and not the opposition. The latter is comprised of a coalition of parties the largest of which is new and headed by a former army chief-of-staff with no political experience. Analysts believe Netanyahu is a far weaker candidate the second time around because of public angst over his attempts to pass a bill that would make him indictment-proof while in office. There are indictments pending in several corruption cases against the P.M. The re-vote is scheduled for September 17.