Sun, 14 Aug 2022

JERUSALEM, June 26 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett held what was likely his final cabinet meeting as prime minister on Sunday, ahead of the parliament's expected dissolution this week.

"Soon, unfortunately, Israel will head toward elections," Bennett told the ministers in televised remarks, referring to a vote on Monday or Wednesday in which the Israeli parliament will almost certainly vote to dissolve itself.

Bennett, leader of the pro-settler Yamina party, specified a series of accomplishments achieved by his year-long governing coalition, which is made up of eight ideological diverse parties, including Dovish liberals, centrists, Hawkish right-wingers and an Arab party that had made history by joining for the first time a ruling coalition in Israel.

"This was an excellent government, which depended on a complex coalition. There is a group of people who knew how to put aside ideological differences, rise above and act for the State of Israel," he said.

Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is now the opposition leader, has been holding talks on establishing a new coalition government within the current parliament without dissolving it, according to reports by state-owned Kan TV news and other local media.

But Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud party are reportedly far from recruiting enough lawmakers for the move, meaning the bill to dissolve the parliament is expected to be approved by the 120-seat legislative body.

Once parliament is dissolved, the interim government will be headed by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, in accordance with a power-sharing agreement he and Bennett inked following the elections in 2021, in which no party gained enough votes to form a government.

Bennett and Lapid decided to dissolve the parliament after their shaky coalition lost its majority two months ago.

The upcoming elections would be Israel's fifth ones in three years.

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