Israel heads to fourth elections in two years as govt collapses

Tel Aviv: The Israeli government on Tuesday collapsed after the country Parliament failed to meet a deadline for passage of budgets.

Israel will head for fourth elections in two years, probably on March 23 next year, CNN reported.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Benny Gantz blamed one another

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition partner, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, have blamed one another for the collapse of their seven-month-old government

“Blue and White withdrew from the agreements [to modify the original coalition agreement] and dragged us to unnecessary elections during the corona crisis,” said Netanyahu, who on Saturday evening became the first Israeli to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. “We do not want an election and we voted against it … but we are not afraid of elections — because we will win!”

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Gantz, referencing the corruption charges facing Netanyahu, said: “I regret that the Prime Minister is preoccupied with his trial and not the public interest, and is prepared to drag the entire country into a period of uncertainty, instead of ensuring economic stability and a rehabilitation of the economy.”

Three inconclusive elections

Earlier this year, after the three inconclusive elections, Gantz agreed to join Netanyahu in April, in what was described as an “emergency” coalition government.

The prime ministership would have been rotated between the two-party leaders: Netanyahu would serve first, and then give way to Gantz after 18 months.

The only loophole in the complicated deal was if lawmakers failed to agree to a budget before Tuesday’s midnight deadline — a failure that has now come to pass.

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The fate of the government had appeared sealed after the Knesset failed in the early hours of Tuesday to pass a bill at first reading that would have extended the deadline for reaching a budget agreement.

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