Israel parliament set to dissolve itself, head into third elections

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Tel Aviv – With only hours to go until the final deadline to form a government in Israel runs out, chances of a third election within a year looked all but unavoidable on Wednesday as lawmakers continue to deadlock.

The two largest parties in Israel’s 120-seat parliament – caretaker Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud and Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White – have agreed on March 2 as the date for the third election if no last-minute agreement on a governing coalition is reached before the deadline at midnight (2200 GMT).

The parliament will pass legislation on the election date on Wednesday, Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein has said.

A third election within under a year is unprecedented in Israel and attests to the intensity of the political stalemate in the country.

While Netanyahu has failed twice to form a majority coalition in the wake of April 9 and September 17 elections, Gantz has failed once.

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