Israel moves towards new vote as Netanyahu struggles to form government

Prime minister has until Wednesday night to put a new administration together

 Benjamin Netanyahu: “A lot can be done in 48 hours. The voters’ wishes can be respected, a strong right-wing government can be formed.” Photograph: Abir Sultan/EPA

Benjamin Netanyahu: “A lot can be done in 48 hours. The voters’ wishes can be respected, a strong right-wing government can be formed.” Photograph: Abir Sultan/EPA

 

Israel moved closer to a new election on Monday as prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s efforts to form a government after last month’s national poll remained deadlocked.

In a preliminary vote, parliament decided to dissolve itself. In order to disperse and set an election date, legislators would still have to hold a final vote, which is likely to take place on Wednesday.

Mr Netanyahu, who heads the right-wing Likud party, has until Wednesday night to put a government together, after being delegated the task by Israeli president Reuven Rivlin following the April 9th election.

In a televised address following the initial vote in parliament, Mr Netanyahu pledged to continue pursuing coalition talks and said a new vote would be unnecessary and costly.

“A lot can be done in 48 hours,” he said. “The voters’ wishes can be respected, a strong right-wing government can be formed.”

In power for the past decade and facing potential corruption indictments, Mr Netanyahu has struggled to seal an agreement with a clutch of right-wing, far-right and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties that would ensure him a fifth term.

Mr Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing and is due to argue against the attorney-general’s intention to indict him on fraud and bribery charges at a pre-trial hearing in October. – Reuters