Israelâs parliament voted early Thursday morning to dissolve itself and hold an unprecedented second early election after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to put together a coalition government.
The lawmakers voted 74 to 45 to break up and hold a new vote Sept. 17.
Netanyahu had a Wednesday deadline to form a new government after winning the April 9 election. He was hoping to form a coalition between his conservative Likud Party, ultra-Orthodox lawmakers and another conservative bloc led by former defense minister Avigdor Lieberman.?
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But negotiations fell apart when Netanyahu and the ultra-Orthodox refused to heed Liebermanâs demands that ultra-religious Jews be drafted into the Israeli army and serve just like other young Israeli men and women are required to do.
Ultra-Orthodox Jews consider military conscription a violation of their religious beliefs, fearing that military service will lead to secularization. But such exemptions from military service are widely resented by other Israeli Jews.
âEverything stands in the same place where it was,â Lieberman said, while Netanyahu said he is confident his Likud Party will win again in September.
âWe will run a sharp, clear election campaign, which will bring us victory. We will win, and the public will win,â Netanyahu said after the parliamentary vote.
Opposition leader Benny Gantz, who lost to Netanyahu in April and would have likely been given a chance to form a government if parliament did not dissolve, angrily accused Netanyahu of being more concerned about his own political future instead of what is good for the country.
Gantz says Israel is now in for âthree crazy monthsâ of another political campaign costing millions of dollars.
He also called Netanyahu âlegally incapacitatedâ because of possible indictments for alleged corruption.
Netanyahu had been hopeful a new parliament would approve legislation granting him immunity.
Netanyahuâs wife, Sara, reached a plea bargain Wednesday in a separate corruption case. She agreed to pay a $15,000 fine in a case linked to $100,000 worth of catered meals at the prime ministerâs residence while concealing the fact that the residence also employed a cook.