Fifth elections? Bill dissolving Knesset set for Wednesday

Rebel Yamina MK Orbach is also negotiating with members of the opposition to form an alternative government. 

By World Israel News Staff

A Likud bill dissolving the 24th Knesset will be brought to a vote on Wednesday, possibly sending Israel to a fifth round of elections in 40 months.

A vote in favor by Nir Orbach would mean the bill would have a majority backing it, but the rebel Yamina MK has yet to endorse it publicly.

Orbach’s hesitancy is due to a clause in the coalition agreement that would see Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid at the helm of a caretaker government if two members of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s rightwing camp vote for the Knesset’s dissolution.

Likud pulled the bill at the last minute last month after realizing it didn’t have enough votes for its passage.

Orbach promised that he would refrain for a week from voting in favor of dissolving the Knesset. Wednesday marks a week since that promise was made, and this time Likud is likely to go ahead with the preliminary hearing.

According to Likud officials cited by the Ma’ariv daily, Orbach is negotiating with members of the opposition to form an alternative government, including head of United Torah Judaism head Moshe Gafni, with whom he met on Sunday.

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Separately, Bennett told his party in a closed-door meeting that if the Judea and Samaria law is not passed within two weeks, it “will all be over” for his government, a report by the Kan public broadcaster said.

The bill, which calls for the renewal of the application of Israeli law in Judea and Samaria, failed to pass for the first time in 55 years earlier this month, marking a key defeat for the fragile coalition.

If Wednesday’s preliminary vote for the Knesset’s dissolution is successful, the bill would need to pass three further votes with the backing of a 61 MK majority.