Israel was led for a third federal election at a 12-month interval on Wednesday night, following the deadline for a government to be formed died.
It’s the hottest in a tide of firsts for the Israeli state after Benjamin Netanyahu became the first sitting prime minister to be indicted on corruption charges a month.
The looming election signifies a lifeline for its embattled prime minister, whose indictment on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of hope came only weeks after he failed to cobble together a government in October.
The dual blow was possibly that the best obstacle to his political direction up to now. He also denies any wrongdoing has pledged to remain on as prime minister.
It remains unclear whether the Likud party will back Netanyahu as its chief and if so if his indictment will upset the political deadlock which has characterized the previous two polls.
Despite allied parties backing them, both men failed to get to the 61-seat bulk threshold required to make a government in the 120-seat Knesset.
Before that, in an election in April, both Likud and Blue and White equally won 35 seats. Netanyahu had the best number of exemptions from different parties, but so he managed to try to make a government.
In the long run, his dream had been scuppered by Avigdor Lieberman, a former president, who refused to join his coalition, accusing Netanyahu of committing ultra-Orthodox spiritual parties too much electricity. That decision left the prime minister seat short of a parliamentary majority.