Israeli PM rejects Knesset vote for early elections

JERUSALEM (AA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday night vowed to do everything possible to build a right-wing block coalition and avoid going to an early election, Israeli daily Jerusalem post reported.

According to the newspaper, Netanyahu criticized right-wing Yisrael Beytenu party leader Avigdor Liberman, whose long-awaited meeting with the prime minister on Monday evening ended in 22 minutes.

“There is no reason to paralyze the country for another half year and waste billions when there is a solution,” Benjamin Netanyahu said in a speech at the Knesset (Israel’s parliament).

Netanyahu added: "For semantics, you don't go to elections. It can be solved in two minutes."

Liberman, meanwhile, promised his party will support the vote to disperse Israel’s legislative council and not back another candidate forming a coalition.

The Knesset on Monday held a preliminary vote to disperse Israeli legislative council, less than a month after the 21st Knesset was sworn in.

Proposed by Likud MK Miki Zohar, the chairman of the House Committee, the vote passed in the reading by 63 to 43.

The vote will go for a first and second reading late Monday, while the final vote will be on Wednesday as the deadline for forming a coalition expires.

The move is an escalation from the Likud to force Former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to back down from his demand to pass the so called ultra-orthodox "draft law".

In the event of failing to form a government coalition, the Likud is trying to dissolve the Knesset and go to new elections within three months to avoid assigning another candidate, especially from the left camp.