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Israeli Knesset dissolved, new polls set for March

The Israeli legislative body set March 17 as the date for the new elections

Published: Updated:

The Israeli Knesset on Monday passed a law dissolving itself and approving early parliamentary elections, the Al Arabiya News Channel correspondent reported.

The legislative body was due to vote during a Monday meeting on dissolving itself and officially setting March 17 as the date for the next general election, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported on its website.

The meeting, which was expected to take place at 4 p.m., will convene the second and third readings of the bill to dissolve the Knesset, which was approved in a preliminary vote last week.

As the bill has been passed, the Knesset is dissolved and the election campaign is now underway.

“Although we believed that this is not the right time from the country’s point of view to go to elections, the option of forming a different government now is even worse,” Yisrael Beiteinu, a right-wing politician, said in a statement earlier on Monday.

“If the die is cast and we are going to elections, we must do it in a worthy fashion, without shticks or tricks or stinking maneuvers,” Beiteinu said.

Along with Beiteinu, other ultra-Orthodox parties, made it clear that they would not allow any attempt by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a new coalition based on the current Knesset.

Over the past few weeks Netanyahu had apparently explored a number of such alternatives as a means to avoid early elections.