Netanyahu faces end of rule in new government vote

Published: 13 Jun 2021

Online Desk

Israel's parliament is expected to approve the formation of a new government, ending 12 years of rule by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The prospective government - an unprecedented coalition of parties - has a razor-thin majority of one seat, reports BBC.

It would also end more than two years of political paralysis in which three elections resulted in stalemate.

Right-wing nationalist Naftali Bennett is poised to become PM in a power-sharing deal with a centrist leader.

Under the coalition agreement, Mr Bennett, who heads the Yamina party, will hold office until September 2023, when he will hand over to Yair Lapid, leader of Yesh Atid, for a further two years.

Mr Netanyahu - Israel's longest-serving leader, who has dominated its political landscape for years - would remain head of the right-wing Likud party and become leader of the opposition.

He has railed against the likely new government, calling it a "dangerous coalition of fraud and surrender" and has vowed to "overthrow it very quickly".

Meanwhile, his trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust - allegations he denies - continues.

Why has this happened?

Mr Netanyahu has served a record-breaking five terms, first from 1996 to 1999, then continuously from 2009 to 2021.

He called an election in April 2019 but failed to win enough support to form a new coalition government. Two more elections followed, each of which ended inconclusively. The third election resulted in a government of national unity where Mr Netanyahu agreed to share power with the then-opposition leader Benny Gantz. But the arrangement collapsed in December, triggering a fourth election.