Israel's parliament voted to dissolve itself early Thursday, sending the country to an unprecedented second snap election this year as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition before a midnight deadline, the AP reports. The dramatic vote, less than two months after parliamentary elections, marked a setback for Netanyahu and sent the longtime leader's future into turmoil. Netanyahu, who has led Israel for the past decade, had appeared to capture a fourth consecutive term in the April 9 election. But infighting among his allies, and disagreements over proposed bills to protect Netanyahu from prosecution stymied his efforts to put together a majority coalition.
Rather than concede that task to one of his rivals, Netanyahu's Likud party advanced a bill to dissolve parliament and send the country to the polls for a second time this year. "I didn't spare any effort to avoid unnecessary elections," Netanyahu said after the vote, lashing out at an ally-turned-rival, Avigdor Lieberman, who refused the prime minister's offers to join the government. He said the country was being forced to hold "unnecessary, wasteful elections because the people had their say. They didn't have their say enough for what Mr. Lieberman wants." Had the deadline passed without the vote, Israel's president would have given another lawmaker, most likely opposition leader Benny Gantz, an opportunity to put together a coalition. (Netanyahu recently made a stunning vow on settlements.)