Israel has moved closer to holding a new general election despite a national vote last month, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu struggles to form a coalition government ahead of a Wednesday deadline.
The parliament on Monday passed a preliminary motion to dissolve itself. If the bill gets final approval in a vote scheduled on Wednesday, then Israel would be forced to hold a new election.
Netanyahu, who heads the right-wing Likud party, has until 21:00 GMT on Wednesday to put a government together, after being delegated the task by President Reuven Rivlin following the April 9 election.
In a televised address following the initial vote in parliament, Netanyahu pledged to continue pursuing coalition talks and said a new vote would be unnecessary and costly.
“A lot can be done in 48 hours,” he said. “The voters’ wishes can be respected, a strong right-wing government can be formed.”
In power for the past decade and facing potential corruption indictments, Netanyahu has struggled to seal an agreement with a clutch of right-wing, far-right and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties that would ensure him a fifth term.