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Israel on the brink of fourth poll in two years

AAP, SFI demand admissions at MR College

Israel was headed Tuesday for its fourth election in less than two years, with its Parliament set to dissolve at midnight after lawmakers rejected a last-ditch effort to salvage the fractured ruling coalition.

The government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been inching towards collapse for weeks and now the right-wing incumbent looks set to face a re-election battle as his long-awaited trial on corruption charges gets under way next year.

The coalition, led by Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud and his rival Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party, has until the start of Wednesday to pass a 2020 budget or Parliament will automatically dissolve. Mr. Gantz demanded the government pass a budget covering both 2020 and 2021, arguing Israel needs stability. But Mr. Netanyahu has refused to endorse a 2021 budget.

On Sunday, Blue and White said it had an agreement with Likud on a Bill to buy more time to pass both the 2020 and 2021 budget. But after yet another war of words between Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Gantz, Parliament rejected the bill on Tuesday, with lawmakers voting against the coalition proposal 49 to 47.

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