(CNN) – The Israeli government collapsed at midnight on Tuesday (17:00 local time) after the country’s parliament missed the deadline for approving the 2020 and 2021 budgets. Israel is now heading for its fourth election in two years. which will probably take place on March 23 next year.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his former coalition partner, blue and white leader Benny Gantz, have tried to blame each other for the collapse of their seven-month government. “Blue and white came out of the agreements (to change the original coalition agreement) and dragged us into unnecessary elections during the crown crisis,” said Netanyahu, who became the first Israeli to receive the vaccine on Saturday night. against covid-19. “We do not want elections and we vote against (…) but we are not afraid of elections, because we will win!”
Gantz, referring to the allegations of corruption facing Netanyahu, said: “I regret that the Prime Minister is concerned about his process and not the public interest and is willing, instead, to shoot the whole country in a period of uncertainty. to guarantee economic stability and a rehabilitation of the economy.
After three inconclusive elections and the first wave of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Gantz agreed to join Netanyahu in April in what has been described as an “emergency” coalition government. This is despite the fact that he campaigned on a platform that ruled out accompanying the prime minister while facing allegations of corruption.
What could happen in the upcoming Israeli elections?
According to the agreement, the position of prime minister would have been rotated between the two party leaders. Netanyahu would serve first and then give way to Gantz after 18 months. The only shortcoming in the complicated agreement was whether lawmakers failed to agree on a budget before Tuesday’s midnight deadline, a failure that has now been reached.
The government’s fate seemed sealed after the Knesset failed to pass a bill early on Tuesday that would have extended the deadline to reach a budget deal.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid, who campaigned with Gantz in the last election but withdrew his party’s support when Gantz joined forces with Netanyahu, addressed the Israeli leader in the Knesset on Monday night. “Sir. Prime Minister, who are you kidding? He doesn’t care about the mutation (coronavirus). He only cares about the rotation (the position of prime minister).
Opinion polls suggest Netanyahu’s Likud party is once again on track to win the most Knesset seats in the upcoming elections. With the torn support of Blue and White, their biggest rivals seem to come from other right-wing parties, which have gained ground against Israel’s oldest leader.