Israel heads towards snap election, Lapid poised to be PM

29 June, 2022
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Israel heads towards snap election, Lapid poised to be PM

Israel's parliament is expected to dissolve Wednesday, ending Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's year-long tenure and triggering a fifth election in less than four years that could see ex-premier Benjamin Netanyahu reclaim power. 

Barring an 11th hour shock agreement to save the coalition or form a new government within the existing parliament, Bennett's eight-party alliance is due to end by midnight, installing Foreign Minister Yair Lapid as prime minister.

The former television anchor is set to head a caretaker government, ahead of polls due in late October or early November. 

Bennett's motley alliance formed in 2021 offered a reprieve from an unprecedented era of political gridlock, ending Netanyahu's record 12 consecutive years in power and passing Israel's first state budget since 2018. 

Netanyahu -- a divisive hawk aligned with far-right nationalists and Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties -- has promised victory in new elections but may again struggle to rally a parliamentary majority, multiple polls have shown.

He is currently on trial over corruption charges, which he denies. 

The anti-Netanyahu camp will likely be led by Lapid, a centrist former TV celebrity. Dismissed as a lightweight when he entered politics a decade ago, he has surprised many with his political skills.

As he and Bennett announced last week that their coalition was no longer tenable, Lapid sought to cast Netanyahu's potential return to office as a national threat. 

"What we need to do today is go back to the concept of Israeli unity. Not to let dark forces tear us apart from within," Lapid said.

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