Israel lawmakers take 1st step toward dissolving parliament

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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli lawmakers voted in favor of dissolving parliament in a preliminary vote on Wednesday, setting the wheels in motion to send the country to its fifth national election in just over three years.

The motion was the first step in a series of votes before the formal disbanding of the government. It came two days after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced he was disbanding his unraveling governing coalition of eight ideologically diverse parties just over a year after he took office.

The historic coalition, which unseated longtime leader Benjamin Netanyahu, was wracked by infighting and defections in recent months. It included dovish parties committed to a two-state solution with the Palestinians, hawkish ultranationalists who oppose a Palestinian state, and a small Islamist faction, the first Arab party to join a government.

The bill passed with 110 of the 120 members of Knesset, the Israeli parliament, voting in favor. But a final vote is still required in order to dissolve parliament, and that is expected to be held next week.

Once it passes, Bennett will step down as prime minister and hand over the reins to his ally, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. New elections are expected to be held in October.

The Associated Press

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