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Israeli parliament dissolves, paving way for 3rd election in year

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Israeli parliament dissolves, paving way for 3rd election in year

Israel's 120-seat parliament, the Knesset, was dissolved at midnight, paving way for the country's third general election in a year and further political uncertainty, the Financial Times reported.

Despite winning the first two rounds of general elections held in September and April, the Likud party led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a coalition government with other political groupings. The Blue and White Party, led by Benny Gantz, was also unable to secure support from other parties to form its own coalition within the deadline for a lawmaker to be nominated as prime minister.

The Knesset's dissolution officially set the new round of elections in 90 days' time on March 10, 2020, but lawmakers finalized a bill that would move the poll a week forward to March 2, 2020, to avoid holding the vote on the Purim holiday, The Times of Israel reported.

Blue and White was moving ahead of Likud in exit polls released this week, the FT added.

The unprecedented third round of elections comes in the wake of Netanyahu being indicted in three separate corruption cases, following monthslong probes into allegations that he accepted gifts from businessmen and dispensed favors for favorable media coverage. He has denied the charges.