Israel’s Knesset to dissolve on Dec 11: Netanyahu calls for direct PM election

Benjamin Netanyahu

Jerusalem, Dec 8 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called for a head-to-head runoff vote between him and his main rival Benny Gantz, as a political stalemate threatens to dissolve Parliament.

Speaking during a conference here, Netanyahu said that Israel should hold “rapid elections for the direct election of the Prime Minister”. “This will save us many months for the new elections for the Knesset and lots of money.

If lawmakers fail to agree on a coalition government in the next three days, the Knesset will be dissolved and the country will go for its third round of elections in less than a year.

The Israeli parliament, or Knesset, has until Wednesday midnight to establish a governing coalition or to be dissolved, reports Xinhua news agency.

Both Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party and Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party has been unable to form a coalition.

“Let the people decide who will be the next Prime Minister,” he said, adding that “exceptional situations require extraordinary solutions”.

Netanyahu first issued this proposal in a post on his Facebook page on Saturday.

The Blue and White party dismissed the proposal, saying in a statement that the party was “engaged in efforts to avoid costly and unnecessary elections, and not with empty spin aimed at bringing back an election method that has shattered the governance and political system in this country in the past and resulted in complete failure”.

Israel has an electoral system with elections based on votes for parties, not for specific candidates. The party that wins the largest number of votes gets to form a government.

However, in the last two rounds of elections which held in April and September, no party gained enough votes to establish a governing coalition.

A lot of permutation and combinations were made to try to for the government but nothing materialized as even Netanyahu’s rival and Likud Member of Knesset Gideon Sa’ar has requested the ruling party to hold leadership primaries in a bid to unseat Israel’s leader and ‘to prevent the state from lapsing into unnecessary elections’.

Likud leadership candidates Gideon Sa’ar and Nir Barkat made the proposals that could help the Likud deal with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s indictment while preventing the third election from taking place.

Sa’ar asked to convene the Likud and to set primaries for the leadership before the December 11 deadline for a member of Knesset to harness enough support to present to President Reuven Rivlin a majority of 61 Member of Knessets (MKs) to form a government. But this suggestion found no takers.

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