The Israeli parliament, the Knesset, has voted for dissolution, ahead of a general election expected early next year. The move was prompted by the unexpected resignation yesterday of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon from the Likud Party. His plan is to lead a new centre right party to fight the coming election.
Protocol has been followed to the letter. Earlier Sharon visited Israeli President Moshe Katsav to ask formally for election proceedings to be got underway.
But the plans for dissolution were almost unanimously accepted by the Knesset, meaning the President’s permission was not needed. The vote will be endorsed by a second round within 24 hours. Meanwhile, the Likud Party is already looking to choose a new leader from within its ranks.
Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is top of the list.
But the Israeli defence minister Shaul Mofaz has said he will stay with Likud and also run for the party’s leadership.