Knesset votes to dissolve; new elections called for March 17

Likud MK Miri Regev (C) speaks to Yesh Atid MK Yair Lapid (R) at the Knesset on December 3, 2014. (photo credit: Courtesy)
Eighty-four MKs support measure, which also passes first reading; Livni lashes ‘hysterical’ Netanyahu; Arab party leaders say they’ll unite.

By Times of Israel

Knesset members voted overwhelmingly in favor of dissolving the current Knesset in a preliminary vote on Wednesday. Eighty-four MKs supported the measure, none opposed it, and one Knesset member abstained.

A first reading of the bill later Wednesday was also approved, with all 22 Knesset members present voting in favor.

The move will be finalized on Monday with second and third readings.

Knesset faction leaders agreed on March 17, 2015, as the date for new elections, in a meeting with Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein on Wednesday morning. “We mustn’t abuse the public. We cannot take our time,” Edelstein said during the meeting. The date must be approved by the factions before it becomes official.

During the meeting with Edelstein, Likud and Jewish Home faction leaders requested a March 10 election date, Labor wanted March 17, and the ultra-Orthodox parties asked for March 24, while the Arab parties sought to delay the vote until May, the Ynet news site reported.

MK Ahmad Tibi of the Ra’am Ta’al party indicated that the Arab parties would merge in response to the raising of the Knesset electoral threshold to 3.25%.

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