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July 1, 2022 12:46 am

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Israel coalition agrees to dissolve, hold new elections

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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office announced Monday that his weakened coalition will be disbanded and the country will head to new elections.

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Bennett has struggled to keep his unruly coalition of eight parties together since it took office one year ago, and defections have left the crumbling alliance without a majority in parliament for over two months.

Bennett and his main coalition partner, Yair Lapid, decided to present a vote to dissolve parliament in the coming days, Bennett’s office said. Lapid is then to serve as caretakever prime minister.

The election, expected in October or November, would be Israel’s fifth in three years.

The vote could set the stage for a return to power by longtime Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is now the opposition leader.

Israel held four inconclusive elections between 2019 and 2021 that were largely referendums about Netanyahu’s ability to rule while on trial for corruption. Netanyahu denies wrongdoing.

Opinion polls have forecast that Netanyahu’s hardline Likud will once again emerge as the largest single party. But it remains unclear whether he would be able to muster the required support of a majority of lawmakers to form a new government.


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