Jerusalem, Dec 12 (IANS) Israelis will return to the ballot box for the third consecutive national election in 11 months on March 2, 2020 after the country’s top leaders have again failed to build a governing coalition.
The Knesset (Parliament) was automatically dispersed at midnight on Wednesday, but lawmakers continued debating until early Thursday on the date of the vote, reports The Times of Israel.
With no member having gained the support of 61 MKs by the midnight deadline, the Knesset officially dissolved and new elections set for 90 days time, March 10, 2020.
However, having started the debate before midnight, Knesset members had until President Reuven Rivlin’s official announcement on Thursday, that no MK gained enough support to build a coalition, to pass the law setting the date for the new elections.
With March 10 falling on the Jewish festival on Purim, the MKs eventually finalized a bill setting the elections for March 2.
The second and third readings of the vote passed by 96 in favour with seven against.
The vote has brought a close to attempts by Prime Minister and leader of the ruling Likud Party Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White chief Benny Gantz to assemble a coalition following the September election.
Talks between Netanyahu and Gantz, leaders of the two-largest parties, on a unity arrangement broke down with both sides trading blame.
The April 2019 election made history when by the end of May it became the first-ever Israeli election that failed to produce a government, said The Times of Israel.
At the time, Netanyahu was short just one vote of a majority.
Following both elections, neither Gantz’s Blue and White nor Netanyahu’s Likud had enough allies to form a government without the other or the support of the Yisrael Beytenu party, but the two parties could not finalize the terms for a unity coalition.