24 January 2022,   07:53
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Early parliamentary elections will be held in Israel

Israel will hold a snap election in March after parliament failed on Tuesday to meet a deadline to pass a budget, triggering a ballot presenting new challenges for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Campaigning in Israel’s fourth parliamentary election in two years gets underway with Netanyanu facing public anger over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and while he is engaged in a corruption trial, the first against an Israeli prime minister.

Israel’s longest-serving leader will also have to contend with a new rival from the right, Gideon Saar, a defector from Netanyahu’s Likud party who an opinion poll on Israel’s Kan public TV on Tuesday showed was drawing even with him.

Netanyahu, who has denied any criminal wrongdoing, and the current defence minister, centrist politician Benny Gantz, established a unity government in May after three inconclusive elections held since April 2019.

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