Tel Aviv: The unsteady coalition government Israel led by Benjamin Netanyahu collapsed after just seven months, necessitating yet another election – the 4th in a matter of two years.
The collapse came as a result of Israel's parliament, Knesset failing to approve a national budget for the second consecutive year. The deadline for its passage expired on the midnight of Tuesday, thus making the cabinet ineligible to continue. The polls will be held on March 23, news agencies reported.
The alliance between Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, which was cobbled together with the least warm of relations between the two partners, was put together only to avoid another election and to prepare the nation to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
The country is being forced to go to the polls against a background of multiple challenges, including the virus defying preventive measures and an unemployment rate of 15 per cent.
"I didn't want elections," Netanyahu said late Tuesday, shortly before parliament disbanded.
Though a government existed in name, and the same was Israel's first permanent government since 2018, it was all too clear that all was not well within the partners of the coalition. Distrust between prime minister Netanyahu and defence minister Benny Gantz marked the partnership and there was no dearth of issues on which the two camps disagreed including the annexation of West Bank.
Gantz alleged that Netanyahu was forcing an election so that he could evade the court proceedings in the fraud charges levelled against him and expected to be heard in February.
As per recent poll surveys, the nationalist Sa'ar might be able to garner enough voters from both the right and center to unseat the country's longest-serving leader. Gantz's Blue and White, which split after his tie-up with Netanyahu, is said to be in no enviable position.