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Israel’s foreign minister Yair Lapid to become PM as country heads to election

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Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (right) speaks with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (left) during a cabinet meeting, on June 19, 2022.

PHOTO: AFP

JERUSALEM (REUTERS) -Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid have agreed to dissolve parliament, triggering a new election, and Lapid will in the meantime take over as prime minister, an official said, confirming local media reports.

A vote will be held in parliament next week, after which Lapid will take over the premiership, the official said.

Lapid and Bennett were expected to issue statements at 8pm (1800 GMT).

Lapid and Bennett in June 2021 had formed an unlikely coalition after two years of political stalemate, ending the record reign of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The government of right-wing, liberal and Muslim Arab parties was fragile from the start.

With a razor-thin parliamentary majority and divided on major policy issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and state and religion issues, the eight-faction alliance began to fracture when a handful of members abandoned the coalition.

The government’s parliamentary majority was soon lost.

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