Israel to hold fresh elections as Netanyahu misses coalition deadline

Israel is headed for polls as a last-ditch attempt by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stitch up a coalition missed the deadline at midnight local time on Wednesday. The parliament voted 74-45 in favor of fresh elections that is going to be held on 17 September.

In elections held earlier in April, Netanyahu’s Likud Party had managed to win only 35 seats of the 120 seats parliament, thereby missing the majority mark by a wide margin. This left Netanyahu with no other option but to try forging a coalition with the nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party led by Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Unfortunately, all of that came to a naught with Avigdor Lieberman finding fault with the military conscription bill that has to do with exemptions to seminary students of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. Lieberman later accused Netanyahu of giving in to the far-right group.

Undeterred, Netanyahu has exuded confidence of winning in the upcoming elections even though the parties are expected to campaign on much the same agenda as the April elections. Interestingly, no single political party has ever won the majority in Israel so that it has always been a coalition government in the country.

Netanyahu meanwhile has the distinction of being the longest running prime minister and it remains to be seen if he can make a comeback in the September polls.

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