Israel to hold snap election after Netanyahu coalition talks fail

Israel to hold snap election after Netanyahu coalition talks fail

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the then-Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman arrive for a joint news conference at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem, May 30, 2016. It also would weaken Netanyahu as he faces possible indictment on bribery and fraud charges.

The letter, which was sent yesterday to the prime minister, stated that "we, 98 retired judges from all the judicial courts in Israel, who have dedicated our lives to justice, hereby call for the defense of the foundations of democracy and the legal system in Israel". But infighting among his allies, and disagreements over proposed bills that would protect Netanyahu from prosecution stymied his efforts to put together a majority coalition.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu said that if no compromise can be made before the deadline Wednesday, Israel will head to snap elections.

But the mercurial Lieberman seems to be holding his ground.

In contrast to Netanyahu's deal-making pragmatism, Lieberman has earned a reputation as a maverick willing to break from his traditional ideological bloc. They insist that years of exemptions that have generated widespread resentment among the rest of Jewish Israelis remain in place.

"The conscription bill is not a caprice".

Having long sparred over issues of religion and state, the sides are now wrestling over legislation to replace a military draft law that exempted ultra-Orthodox men.

He has served in a range of ministerial positions both under Netanyahu and others.

After trying to coerce a concession out of Lieberman, Netanyahu and has allies have turned to an all-out offensive. Lieberman supports a law that sets modest quotas for enlisting them, which the religious parties oppose.

Israeli media said the meeting ended without any progress, and quoted Likud officials as saying Mr Netanyahu would soon order new elections.

"This is about Liberman and Netanyahu, personalities and power", he said, adding that what remains unclear is how much the threat of new elections is Netanyahu "flexing" and whether he will be able to turn around the talks at the last minute. If Netanyahu can not form a government by Wednesday night, new elections in the late summer of early fall will be the likeliest scenario.

Israel's parliament has approved a preliminary vote to dissolve itself, taking another step toward early elections. He shored up his political support Tuesday by incorporating Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon's economic-centric Kulanu party into Likud ahead of a joint run.

A Likud source said the sessions would be held later in the day and on Monday.

"Netanyahu eventually decided that his best option was to go to another election, rather than allow the Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to try to get somebody else to potentially form a coalition instead".

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