Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Israel's legislative body on Wednesday approved a preliminary resolution that calls for its dissolution, which would result in the country's fourth election in less than two years.
Sixty-one lawmakers voted in favor and 54 voted against the bill to dissolve the Knesset, which was proposed by opposition leader Yair Lapid and supported by Blue & White Party leader Benny Gantz, a member of the governing coalition and Israeli defense minister.
The bill must pass three additional successful readings before new elections are called.
By supporting the Knesset's dissolution, Gantz is hoping to prod Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party into a compromise on a two-year state budget.
New budget negotiations are expected to begin in an effort to avoid another election.
Gantz has accused Netanyahu of "misleading" the public about the budget and trying to protect his own political and legal interests.
Under a coalition agreement between Likud and the Blue and White Party, Gantz is scheduled take over as prime minister next year in a move that would expose Netanyahu to pending corruption charges.
"Netanyahu is endangering Israel's economic future," Gantz said in October. "If he doesn't pass a budget it would be a crime against the state and its citizens."
Gantz said "dragging out this government without a budget is a greater damage to the Israeli nation than elections."