Israeli Parliament Votes to Dissolve, New Elections Planned

A flurry of last minute talks aimed at cobbling together any coalition at all, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu making a surprise bid to convince Avi Gabbay to bring Labor into the far-right coalition, have all failed.

Over the last hour before the midnight deadline, Netanyahu had seemingly given up, announcing his intention to proceed to new elections, and pushing quick votes to dissolve the parliament to avoid the admittedly remote possibility that someone else might have a chance at forming a coalition without him.

With the subsequent votes, parliament has dissolved, and for the first time ever, an Israeli election has ended without a government forming, and seven weeks after the April 2019 vote, Israel is facing a new campaign, a new September 17 election, and another bid at coalition-forming.

Though the polling unsurprisingly shows a next election being broadly similar to the last one, there could be a lot of new joint lists trying to increase their blocs. Already Kulanu and Likud have agreed on a joint list, and signs are that Yisrael Beiteinu and the New Right will follow suit, with Avigdor Lieberman in talks with Ayelet Shaked before the coalition talks had even failed.

Early polls suggest it will remain a heavily two-bloc race, between Likud-Kulanu and Blue and White, though the deciding votes are clearly going to be on the margins, with either needing to come up with a coalition of parties capable of coexisting to form a government.

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