By Eunice Peter/:
More than 40 per cent of Israelis blamed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of the Likud party, for the necessity to hold snap parliamentary elections, following Tuesday’s collapse of the government.
Meanwhile, 18 per cent of respondents believe that Defence Minister Benny Gantz, the leader of Blue and White party, is responsible for that, a fresh poll showed.
Early on Wednesday, Yariv Levin, the speaker of Israel’s 120-seat unicameral parliament, Knesset, said that the early parliamentary elections in the country would take place on March 23, 2021.
The results of the poll were published hours before the dissolution of the parliament. The number of respondents and margin of error were not mentioned.
According to the poll by Kantar company conducted for Kan broadcaster, 43 per cent of respondents said that Netanyahu was responsible for the fact that Israel will go to polls for the fourth time in two years.
The respondents were also asked who they see as the most suitable candidate for the post of prime minister. As many as 39 per cent of nationals chose the acting prime minister.
While 36 per cent would like to see former Interior Minister Gideon Saar, who has recently left Likud and announced the establishment of his own party, 23 per cent named former Defence Minister Naftali Bennett, the leader of the Yamina party.
The poll showed that if the elections were held now, Likud would receive 28 mandates (three more than at the previous poll), Gideon Saar’s new party would have 20 seats, while Yamina would get 15 mandates.
Earlier, reports emerged that the main coalition partners in the Israeli government – Likud and Blue and White parties – agreed that the next state budget would be adopted on December 31.
This would have made it possible to avoid an early dissolution of Knesset and holding early elections.
However, overnight into Tuesday, Knesset, by a majority vote (49 to 47), rejected in the first reading the bill extending the budget approval period for 2020 and 2021.
Thus, the Knesset was automatically dissolved at midnight following the non-approval of the state budget.