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Israel PM calls for snap election, fires two ministers

Israel PM calls for snap election, fires two ministers
“I will not tolerate opposition in my government any more,” Netanyahu said of the sacking of finance minister Yair Lapid and justice minister Tzipi Livni. “I won’t accept ministers attacking the policy and head of the government from within,” he said in a statement.

Netanyahu said he would call for parliament to be dissolved “as soon as possible to go to the people and get a clear mandate to lead Israel.”

Parliament was due to hold a preliminary vote to dissolve the country’s parliament, the Knesset, on Wednesday.

Sources in Netanyahu’s Likud party told AFP the coalition was likely to support the proposal, under which elections could be held as early as March 2015.

Cracks in Netanyahu’s right-leaning coalition emerged over the 2015 budget and a contentious bill aimed at enshrining Israel’s status as the Jewish state in law, a move critics say could harm its Arab minority.

Coalition tensions brewing for months came to a head Monday after talks between Netanyahu and Lapid aimed at heading off a crisis collapsed. The coalition was formed after a January 2013 general election, and the next poll had theoretically been due in November 2017.

Israel approves dissolving parliament

Israeli lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a motion on Wednesday to dissolve the Knesset in a preliminary vote, paving the way for early elections after PM Benjamin Netanyahu failed to iron out differences with coalition partners. Israel’s government, which took office in early 2013, has been riven by divisions from the beginning over major issues facing the country. On Tuesday, Netanyahu fired two rebellious Cabinet ministers and called for elections, plunging the country into a bitter campaign set to culminate in polls early next year.

Wednesday’s vote in the 120-member Knesset, which passed 84-0 with one legislator abstaining, was an initial step. Further votes are expected next week that will officially disband the parliament and usher in new polls.


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