Israel is heading for an unprecedented second election in less than six months after Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a coalition before a Wednesday night deadline and instead forced through a bill to dissolve parliament.
Mr Netanyahu won the most votes in April’s election but has spent the last six weeks struggling to convince smaller Right-wing parties to join his coalition and help him form a majority government.
After a series of frantic last-ditch negotiations broke down, a stony-faced Mr Netanyahu returned to parliament shortly before midnight on Wednesday and voted in favour of a bill to hold new elections on September 17.
The bill passed 74-45. Moments after the vote, Mr Netanyahu condemned the new elections as “superfluous, wasteful elections that nobody needs and nobody wants because the people already spoke”.
Israel has never before been forced to hold two elections in a single year and the political chaos is a potentially seriously blow to Mr Netanyahu, who managed to win the April elections despite facing criminal corruption charges.