JERUSALEM

The Knesset (Israel’s parliament) was automatically dissolved early Wednesday after lawmakers failed to pass the state’s budget, setting the stage in Israel for a fourth election in less than two years.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and his government partner Benny Gantz, head of the Blue and White party, failed on Monday to pass a bill that delays the passing of the budget.

The deadline for approving the budget was supposed to be on Aug.25, after 100 days of forming the government. The Knesset, however, agreed to postpone the deadline till Dec. 23.

While Netanyahu insisted on having the budget for year 2020, Gantz wanted it to be a two-year budget 2020 and 2021, as agreed with Netanyahu once forming the coalition government in May.

* Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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