Israel’s parliament on Wednesday dissolved after failing to meet a midnight deadline for forming a new government, triggering an an unprecedented third election in a 12-month period while giving scandal-plagued Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a welcome break as he fights to save his political career, the AP reports. After months of political deadlock following a September election, lawmakers overwhelmingly passed the first of three votes required to dissolve the parliament and set a March 2 date for new elections. But after a midnight deadline passed, parliament was automatically dissolved. Lawmakers were continuing their debate early Thursday to confirm the official date.
A new campaign will prolong a year-long political stalemate that has paralyzed the government and undermined public trust in the government. For the third time in the past year, the country now appears to be heading to what is sure to be a nasty three-month political campaign that according to recent opinion polls is expected to deliver very similar results. In September’s vote, Netanyahu's Likud party and the rival Blue and White party both were unable to secure a parliamentary majority. Netanyahu and Blue and White’s leader, former military commander Benny Gantz, both failed during officially mandated periods to cobble together a governing coalition. Then they were unable to agree on a power-sharing agreement that would have avoided another vote.
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