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Israel will have a new prime minister by the end of 2018, report predicts

Michael Koplow from the Israel Policy Forum says this year will see the first new PM in nearly a decade

    Benjamin Netanyahu
    Benjamin Netanyahu (Picture: Getty Images)

    Israel is extremely likely to hold a general election in 2018, one year ahead of schedule, according to the advocacy group and think-tank Bicom.

    In a report outlining its predictions for the Middle East, the think-tank said Israeli governments “rarely” saw out their full five-year terms and the longest-serving ones in recent decades had collapsed sometime into their fourth year.

    The last Knesset election was in 2015. Bicom’s report said the parties’ enthusiasm for a poll was low but allegations of corruption surrounding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could change the mood.

    In his own remarks for the report, Michael Koplow from the Israel Policy Forum predicted 2018 would be Mr Netanyahu’s final year in office.

    “Israel will see its first new prime minster in nearly a decade,” he wrote. “The investigations into Prime Minister Netanyahu are likely to culminate later this year in a police recommendation to indict him.

    “This will either lead the Likud to force him to step aside in favour of a new party leader, or lead Netanyahu to take the country to elections in an effort to forestall an indictment, which will result in a new coalition headed by Yair Lapid.”

    Mr Lapid leads the centrist Yesh Atid, an opposition party that once partnered Mr Netanyahu in government.

    Bicom also lowered expectations that 2018 would be the year Donald Trump’s administration succeeds in brokering a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

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