Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Wednesday June 29 to the elected representatives of his party, Yamina, that he would not be a candidate in the next legislative elections. AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP Whatever the outcome of the next election, Naftali Bennett will not be part of the future Israeli government. The current Prime Minister announced on Wednesday June 29 that he would not be a candidate in the legislative elections, the fifth in less than four years in Israel. The announcement was made shortly before the planned dissolution of parliament which should pave the way for early elections. Initially, Israeli lawmakers had planned to pass a series of laws on Tuesday and Wednesday before dissolving the Knesset in the evening, but the debates dragged on Wednesday evening; the vote on dissolution was eventually postponed until Thursday. “I have no intention of running in the next election, but I will remain a loyal soldier of this country, which I have served all my life as a soldier, officer, minister and prime minister,” said Mr. Bennett in a speech to the Knesset, confirming handing over leadership of his Yamina party to current interior minister Ayelet Shaked. Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Israel is preparing for its fifth election in less than four years In June 2021, Mr. Bennett and the current head of diplomacy, Yaïr Lapid, had written a page in the history of Israel by bringing together a coalition of eight parties including, for the first time, an Arab party. This coalition had cut short Benjamin Netanyahu’s twelve consecutive years in power. A year later, the coalition lost its majority in the Chamber of Deputies. Mr Bennett threw in the towel last week when he announced his intention to dissolve the Knesset to call new elections. Yaïr Lapid will act as interim Since this surprise announcement, Israel has been teeming with rumours. The leader of the opposition, Mr. Netanyahu (Likud, right), tried to rally coalition MPs to form an “alternative government” and thus take over the post of prime minister without going through an election. But these attempts failed and a parliamentary committee acted overnight from Monday to Tuesday that Parliament would be dissolved on Wednesday. After dissolution, Mr. Bennett will give way to Mr. Lapid. Their coalition deal provided for power-sharing, including a clause that Mr. Lapid would act as interim until a new government was formed if the Knesset dissolved. For the next few months, Mr. Bennett will retain the title of acting prime minister, he said. “What we need today is to return to the concept of Israeli unity and not let the forces of darkness divide us,” Lapid said last week. This former star journalist, who founded the centrist party Yesh Atid (“There is a future” in Hebrew) a decade ago, will have to quickly put his troops in battle order for the elections. It is he who will welcome, in mid-July, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, for his first tour of the Middle East since his arrival at the White House. The World with AFP
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