Israel is heading towards its fifth general election in less than four years, after the coalition government concluded that it would not be able to survive.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will exchange his position with his partner in government, Yair Lapid, according to a previous agreement between them.
Observers expect that Israel will organize new elections at the end of October.
The former prime minister and current opposition leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, has vowed to return to power.
Monday’s announcement came after weeks of speculation that the coalition, the most diverse in Israel’s history, was on the verge of collapse.
The government faces the prospect of losing an important vote next week after a member of Bennett’s right-wing Yamina party quit the coalition, leaving him a minority in the 120-seat parliament.
The Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement: “After exhausting attempts to stabilize the coalition, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Deputy Prime Minister Yair Lapid concluded: A bill will be submitted next week for Knesset approval.”
“Once approved, the rotation will take place in an orderly fashion,” the statement added. “Prime Minister Bennett is now speaking with party leaders.”
Last week, Yamina MK Nir Auerbach resigned from the coalition, saying he had failed in his main task of “raising morale.” [للإسرائيليين]With this, the coalition has only 59 seats in parliament. Others have threatened to rebel as well.
The announcement on Monday evening surprised members of the government. The newspaper “The Times of Israel” quoted sources as saying that the defense and interior ministers were not aware of the decision.
The bill dissolving the Knesset will be put to a vote next week. If passed, as expected, Bennett would allow the centrist Yair Lapid to become interim prime minister.
The two men formed the coalition just over a year ago after a series of inconclusive elections that ousted Netanyahu, the longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history.
The coalition was formed from eight parties from across the political spectrum. The coalition was united only by the desire to make it impossible for Netanyahu to form a government.
Netanyahu, who is currently on trial on corruption charges, which he denies, said the announcement was “good news for millions of Israeli citizens.”
“This government is leaving,” he added, pledging to form a “wide national government” headed by his Likud party.
Last week, the results of a poll conducted by Israel’s Channel 12 television indicated that a bloc led by Netanyahu would win the most seats in the event of new elections.
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