Yair Lapid is poised to become Israel’s new prime minister, with parliament preparing to dissolve itself and trigger the country’s fifth election in less than four years.

Mr Lapid, the leader of the centrist Yesh Atid party and Foreign minister, will take over from Naftali Bennett under an existing power-sharing deal.

They formed an unlikely eight-party coalition after last year’s election,

However, it collapsed last week, clearing the way for fresh polls.

It also creates an opening for Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to return to office despite being on trial on corruption charges which he denies.

Mr Netanyahu, whose right-wing Likud party is predicted to remain the largest in the Knesset, was ousted by Mr Bennett and Mr Lapid last June, breaking two years of political stalemate.

Ahead of the vote to dissolve the Knesset, which has been delayed until Thursday morning, Mr Bennett told members of his right-wing Yamina party that he would not be standing in the upcoming election, his spokesman said. He will serve as alternate prime minister under Mr Lapid until then.

Mr Lapid, a 58-year-old former TV news anchor, will serve as caretaker Prime minister until an election is held in late October or early November.

He was tasked with forming a governing coalition after Mr Netanyahu and his allies were unable to secure a majority in the wake of the March 2021 poll.

Mr Lapid agreed to rotate the premiership with Mr Bennett as part of a deal that brought together the coalition. Mr Bennett had been due to hand over power to him in September 2023.

The government was the most diverse in Israel’s history, comprising eight parties from across the political spectrum, including those with ideologically opposing views. It also contained an independent Arab party for the first time since the state was established in 1948.

Bbc/Adebukola Aluko


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