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Israeli lawmakers vote to dissolve parliament
Wednesday December 3, 2014 7:30 PM, IANS

Israeli lawmakers voted Wednesday in favour of dissolving parliament, setting the stage for a snap election in March.

Wednesday's vote was a preliminary one, as three further votes are expected later in the day and next week, which will officially dissolve the Israeli parliament, Xinhua reported.

Earlier Wednesday, a parliament spokesperson announced that the elections would be held March 17.

The hardline right and centre factions of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government have been fighting over multiple issues pertaining to the Jewish identity of the country, the peace process with the Palestinians and the economy. The frequent disagreements drove his coalition into crisis.

After months of quarrels, Netanyahu announced Tuesday night his support to dissolving parliament and conducting early elections. He also decided to fire Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who he said plotted against him by outspokenly criticising his policies.

"I cannot lead the country within this current government," Netanyahu told reporters Tuesday evening. "From the get go, this government was oppositional; it had frictions and opposite directions, and it was run under threats and ultimatums," he added.

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