The Knesset passed in its first reading a bill to dissolve itself late Monday night, taking a step closer to another snap elections in just a matter of months. The vote comes amid a deadlock in negotiations to form a coalition government.
Some 66 MKs voted in favor of the bill, with 44 voting against and five abstaining.
Earlier Monday, the Knesset held a preliminary vote to disperse the legislative assembly and head toward elections, less than a month after the 21st Knesset was sworn in. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling Likud party won 36 seats in the last elections held less than two months ago on April 9.
If the bill passes in its second and third reading the new elections will be called. A special committee to dissolve Knesset apparently already on a date for a new vote, which will be September 17.
The ultra-Orthodox parties, however, will likely push for an earlier date, since Hareidi Yeshiva students are on holiday during the month of September.
"There is no choice but to admit that Netanyahu failed in forming the government," said one Likud minister. "Who would have thought that after such a difficult election campaign, we would find ourselves on a verge of yet another elections?”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has until Wednesday to reach the needed agreements in order to form a coalition, with Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Liberman refusing to compromise on the new IDF draft law (drafting the ultra-Orthodox into the military), which the Haredi parties oppose.
The two held a meeting late Monday evening ahead of the Knesset vote, but Liberman left the meeting shortly after it began, while Netanyahu announced an immediate press-conference, where he publically called on the Yisrael Beytenu leader to consider a compromise.
"If Netanyahu was aware that Liberman was serious, why didn’t he look for any other alternatives in order to prevent another elections?" said a Likud-affiliated source. "In the end, Liberman didn’t blink, and Bibi is now taking us to another election round."