Israeli parliament dissolves, kicking off campaign period before new elections

The Israeli parliament voted to dissolve on Wednesday, kicking off a campaign period before a new round of elections is held in April, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The body, known as the Knesset, voted 102-2 in favor of dispersing. This means the country is now set to have early elections on April 9, leaving Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE open to a possible challenge.

Most political analysts say Netanyahu is likely to be reelected, but he will now face hurdles in assembling a majority in parliament, according to The Washington Post.

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Netanyahu, the leader of the center-right Likud party, faces growing scrutiny over investigations into allegations that he accepted bribes and made deals to receive more positive media coverage.

Israeli police have also recommended that he be indicted in three cases, which have now gone to the Israeli attorney general. 

The decision to dissolve the Israeli parliament came early, as a full term would have lasted until November 2019. 

Some lawmakers attempted to stall the Knesset's dissolution Wednesday, including Knesset House Committee Chairman Miki Zohar of the Likud party, who attempted to delay the move in order to pass more laws that he had been pushing for, The Jerusalem Post reported.

But the bill ultimately passed after multiple votes.

The Likud party in a statement over the weekend said “national and budgetary responsibilities” had pushed leaders of the coalition parties to “dissolve the Knesset and go to new elections at the beginning of April," according to the Post.

“We come to ask for a clear mandate from the voters to continue to lead the state of Israel our way,” Netanyahu said Monday while speaking from the Knesset, the Post reported.