Israel Faces Third Consecutive Vote After Parliament Deadline Passes
Israel plans to hold its third election in less than a year after lawmakers failed to find a consensus candidate to form a government before the deadline. This prolongs months of political stalemate at a critical time for Israel’s national security as it faces threats ranging from Iran to militants in Gaza. The third election will be held in March after inconclusive votes occurred both in April and September of 2019. Benjamin Netanyahu remains in office until the next election after being indicted on corruption charges last month after allegations that he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts such as champagne and cigars, and favorable media coverage in exchange for wealthy and influential supporters.
Netanyahu denies all fo the charges, and as Prime Minister, he will be likely to be granted immunity by Parliament if he chooses to seek it. Netanyahu’s Likud party will hold a primary leadership contest within the month, in which Netanyahu is threatened by popular rival Gideon Saar. However, Netanyahu remains popular among the Likud party and it is unclear whether Saar will defeat him. Israel’s fractious political system makes it unlikely that the government will achieve a breakthrough at the next election.