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Israeli leaders to call for dissolution of Knesset, new elections

Israeli leaders to call for dissolution of Knesset, new elections
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (R) makes a statement at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting on May 8 next to Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid. The leaders said they will call for new Knesset elections. Photo by Maya Alleruzzo/UPI | License Photo

June 20 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid decided Monday to dissolve the Knesset and call for new elections, endangering Lapid's turn at the top position.

Bennett and Lapid struggled to hold together their fragile coalition, which was driven by an effort to end the reign of Benjamin Netanyahu a year ago. As a prearranged agreement, Lapid will become prime minister during the interim period and greet President Joe Biden when he arrives in Israel on July 13.

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If elections for a new Knesset take place in the fall, it could usher in a new coalition, upending Lapid's time in office after mere months. Bennett became the shortest-serving prime minister in Israeli history already with his year in office.

Bennett and Lapid said in a joint statement they will represent a bill dissolving the Knesset next Monday, likely setting up new elections on Oct. 25.

Israeli Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar said the fracturing of their delicate coalition of anti-Netanyahu conservatives and liberals came because of the "irresponsible behavior by Knesset members in the coalition."

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Sa'ar said the goal of the next election should be to prevent Netanyahu from returning to power "mortgaging the country to his own personal interest," according to the Jerusalem Post.

Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving prime minister, could still form an alternative government in the current Knesset.

If conservative parties New Hope and Yamina, agree to join Netanyahu's right-wing party coalition, it could usher him back to power before the election.

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