May 28 (UPI) -- Israeli lawmakers have voted to dissolve the national parliament due to difficulty agreeing on a coalition government -- a move that could pave the way for new elections.
Lawmakers voted on the first reading of the bill late Monday to disband the 21st Knesset. The vote was 64-44 in favor of dissolution.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party have failed to build a necessary coalition with other minor opposition parties that won election this spring. New elections could be called for Sept. 17 if the bill passes the second and third readings this week. Netanyahu will have until that time to build a coalition that will give him a majority in the Knesset.
Netanyahu tried to pressure Avigdor Lieberman and his Yisrael Beiteinu Party to join his coalition. The two met Monday but could not come to terms. Netanyahu touted support from President Donald Trump.
"Unfortunately, I haven't been able to convince Lieberman to avoid another election," Netanyahu told reporters. "The reality is that we must be responsible and form a government immediately."
Lieberman said his party would support the dissolution of the Knesset and would not recommend an alternative candidate.
The centrist Blue and White Party, led by Benny Gantz, said he should be given a chance to form a government if Netanyahu cannot. Likud and Blue and White each won 35 seats in Israel's Parliament in April.
In the Knesset Tuesday, security guards arrested a man they say plotted to attack Netanyahu. The man, described as an Israeli-Arab, approached the parliamentary building and told security guards he "wanted the prime minister."
The man began to walk away when asked for identification, but was arrested. Officials said he had a paper in his pocket that said he wanted to be a "shaheed," or an Islamic martyr.