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Israelis Head for a Third National Election in 2020

The deadline passed on Wed. 11 Dec. 2019 to nominate a candidate for Israel’s next prime minister, officially launching the third election in less than a year. The Knesset voted to dissolve itself late Wed. night. New elections will be held on 2 March 2020. Unable to find common ground following inconclusive election results in April 2019 and again in Sep. 2019, lawmakers from PM Binyamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud and Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White blame each other for the impasse. Yair Lapid, Blue and White’s second in command, predicted that the next few months would be “a festival of hate and violence and disgrace.” According to two opinion polls, the public seems to agree with more than 40 percent of respondents blaming Netanyahu for the political deadlock. More than a quarter of the public believes Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman is responsible, and a similar percentage says all parties are equally at fault. Another poll conducted last week revealed that the prevailing sentiment could have tangible effects, with Blue and White predicted to win 37 out of the Knesset’s 120 seats in March 2020. However, neither party is expected to be in a clear position to head a minimum 61-member coalition, as the country’s Right and Center-Left blocs are projected to receive about the same overall representation as they did in both April and September of this year. (VFI News)