JERUSALEM (JTA) – A bill to dissolve Israel’s Knesset unanimously passed a preliminary reading and Knesset faction leaders set a date for new elections.
The bill to dissolve Knesset passed Wednesday morning by a vote of 84-0 with one abstention, a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he would go to early elections at the soonest possible time. The bill could pass its second and third readings as early as Monday.
Earlier on Wednesday morning, the heads of the Knesset factions met in the office of Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, where they agreed to set March 17 as the new election date.
The new date makes the current 19th Knesset one of the shortest, at just over two years. Elections were supposed to occur next in 2017.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu announced his intention to dissolve the Knesset and go to early elections during a televised news conference, hours after he fired coalition party heads Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid and Tzipi Livni of Hatnua from their ministerial positions, saying he would “not tolerate ministers who that from within the government attack government policies and the person who leads the government.”
The four other Yesh Atid ministers later resigned their ministerial positions as well.