Israel to hold fresh polls as Netanyahu fails to form coalition govt

Israeli lawmakers voted to dissolve Parliament and hold fresh elections after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a coalition before a midnight deadline. He became the first prime minister-designate in Israel’s history who was unable to form a government.

In a little more than six weeks since they were elected, Israeli lawmakers voted 74-45 in favour of dissolving the 21st Knesset (Israeli Parliament). The repeat general elections will be held on September 17.

Netanyahu’s victory in the April 9 polls securing him a record fifth term proved temporary.  A military conion bill governing exemptions for ultra-Orthodox Jewish seminary students created a logjam between potential coalition partners.

Ahead of the vote , Netanyahu told the Likud faction that he had not succeeded in reaching a compromise with nationalist Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman on the controversial haredi (ultra-Orthodox) conion bill. He had also tried unsuccessfully to woo MPs from the opposition to join his government.

Lieberman, a former defence minister, had made it a condition of allying with ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties that they adopt a law aimed at having them serve in the military like their secular counterparts.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews studying in religious seminaries are currently exempt from mandatory military service, a practice many Israelis view as unfair.

The Hindu

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