The heads of the political parties forming Israel’s ruling coalition announced on Sunday, December 23, that they have decided to bring forward the general elections for the 21st Knesset to April 9, instead of November 2019 as was originally scheduled, and that the current Knesset will be dissolved prior to the April elections, maybe even as early as the end of this week.
Ever since the resignation of the racist Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman from the government in mid-November, along with his party members leaving the coalition, the far-right cabinet has been relying on the slimmest of parliamentary majorities, just 61 out of its 120 members, and has found governing difficult.
The last time a government in Israel completed its full term of four and half years was in 1988. Since then, elections have usually been moved up because of a coalition crisis or as a strategic move by the prime minister to maximize his chances of re-election.
Hadash and the Communist Party of Israel (CPI) praised the call for early elections. The CPI issued a statement saying: “Bye-Bye Bibi. This is the end of the racist government, a neo-liberal and corrupt government of settlements and high cost of living… Every day less than its full term is a victory for the population.”
Joint List Chairman MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) also hailed the decision to call early elections, saying: “The earlier the better… Arabs will flock to the polls in greater numbers than ever,” a barbed reference to an election video released by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the day of the last general elections, March 17, 2018, in which he sought to encourage Jews to head to the polls to neutralize the increased Arab turnout. “This is the time to vote out Netanyahu and his friends in the right-wing government,” Odeh said.
Member of the CPI Political Bureau, MK Aida Touma-Suleiman (Hadash – Joint) also welcomed the announcement, writing on Twitter that the current parliament should have been dissolved a long time ago due to the dozens of racist and anti-democratic laws it has legislated.