Israel to hold fresh election as Netanyahu fails to form coalition

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli lawmakers have voted to dissolve parliament after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a coalition government.

The decision triggers a fresh election, to be held on 17 September.

Mr Netanyahu was unable to reach a deal for a fresh right-wing coalition following last month’s election.

At the heart of the impasse was a military conscription bill governing exemptions for ultra-Orthodox Jewish seminary students.

It is the first time in Israel’s history that a prime minister-designate has failed to form a coalition.

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Parliament voted 74-45 in favour of dissolving itself after Mr Netanyahu missed a midnight local time (21:00 GMT) deadline on Wednesday.

Mr Netanyahu appeared set for a fifth term after his Likud Party won 35 of the Knesset’s 120 seats in April’s election, but he could not reach a deal with former Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, whose support became vital.

Mr Lieberman, from the nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party, had conditioned allying with ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties on changes to their military draft exemptions.

Speaking to reporters after the vote, Mr Netanyahu said: “We’ll run a sharp, clear election campaign which will bring us victory. We’ll win, we’ll win and the public will win.”