Mon, 08 Aug 2022

JERUSALEM, June 29 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Wednesday that he will not run in the upcoming elections as his coalition government has collapsed only a year after its inauguration.

He said in a broadcast statement that he will "soon" step down as prime minister and rotate with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid after the Israeli parliament is expected to vote on Thursday to approve a bill to dissolve itself.

"I will continue to assist him as an alternate prime minister," Bennett said, adding he will "transfer the job in a professional and orderly manner."

Ayelet Shaked, Israeli interior minister and a member of Bennett's pro-settler Yamina party, will replace him as the leader of the party, Bennett noted.

The outgoing Israeli leader said the past year, marked by personal attacks against him and constant attempts to topple his government by the opposition led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was "hard" for him and his family.

Bennett led a coalition made up of eight ideologically diverse parties, united with the aim of ousting Netanyahu who is facing a criminal trial over corruption charges.

Israeli news outlets reported that Bennett was considering running in the forthcoming elections as he was under pressure from many of his supporters to stay in the race.

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