Israel faces possible second election amid coalition crisis

Last Modified Tuesday, 28 May 2019 (15:22 IST)
must form a coalition government by Wednesday or risk the dissolution of parliament. His efforts to put together a government after last month's vote have so far been unsuccessful.
With Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu so far unable to form a coalition government after last month's national poll, has moved one step closer to a fresh election.
 
A bill to dissolve the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, passed a preliminary reading on Monday, but lawmakers must still hold a final vote on the bill. The vote is expected on Wednesday.
 
Netanyahu, who narrowly won the national election in April, said in a televised address that he would pursue coalition talks and that 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."
 
Voters gave Netanyahu the chance at a record fifth term in office on April 9. Following the polls, President Reuven Rivlin tasked the premier with forming a government.
 
Coalition deadlock
 
Netanyahu has struggled to come to an agreement with the right-wing, far-right and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties that gave him the edge in the vote. In power for the past decade, he is facing potential indictments for corruption. He denied any involvement in fraud and bribery cases at a pretrial hearing in October.
 
A second national election in the same year is unprecedented in Israel, but it would avoid having Rivlin assign the task of coalition-building to another legislator once Wednesday's deadline expires.
 
Netanyahu's Likud party secured 35 of the legislature's 120 seats , the same number as its main rival, the centrist Blue and White party, but the prime minister also secured the support of the wider right-wing bloc.
 
"Hoping things will work out with Israel's coalition formation and Bibi and I can continue to make the alliance between America and Israel stronger than ever," Trump tweeted, using Netanyahu's nickname. "A lot more to do!"