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March 25, 2023

Israeli parliament dissolves ahead of early election

Israel’s parliament has voted to dissolve itself and to hold an early general election on 22 January, BBC informs. The unanimous vote followed a debate lasting more than eight hours.Last week PM Benjamin Netanyahu said he was bringing forward elections due in a year’s time because parliament could not agree on a new budget. Mr Netanyahu – whose right-wing coalition government has been in power since 2009 – will easily win the election.“In less than 100 days the people of Israel will decide who will lead them in the face of the greatest security challenges which we have known since the founding of the state; who will lead them in the face of the toughest economic crisis the world has known in the past 80 years,” Mr Netanyahu told the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.Correspondents say Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party is expected to improve on the 27 Knesset seats it took during the last election although if he wins he will almost certainly have to form another coalition.Netanyahu still faces some areas of vulnerability, including the uncertain economic situation, a failure to advance peace efforts with the Palestinians and his rocky relations with U.S. President Barack Obama.In an address to parliament ahead of Monday’s vote, Netanyahu boasted of a series of accomplishments under his leadership. He emphasized that Israel’s economy grew while most other countries suffered setbacks, took credit for the relative decline in Palestinian attacks against Israelis, and said he put Iran’s nuclear program on the global agenda to the point where the country was now under crippling economic sanctions.Netanyahu was repeatedly interrupted by shouts and boos by opposition lawmakers.In a separate speech, opposition leader Shaul Mofaz countered with a blistering attack Netanyahu’s shortcomings.Mofaz also blasted Netanyahu for undermining Israel’s relations with the United States through repeated quibbles with Obama, leaving the widespread impression that he is supporting Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the upcoming U.S. elections.

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