By Burak Dag
ANKARA (AA) - Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will not run in the upcoming elections, his spokesperson said on Wednesday.
Bennett's decision has come ahead of voting on the final readings of a bill that proposes dissolving the Knesset and calling an early election.
Right-wing Yamina Party leader Bennett will remain in his post as alternate prime minister after his coalition partner Yair Lapid becomes the head of a transitional government until a new Cabinet is formed after the elections, according to a statement by the spokesperson.
Following Bennett's decision not to run in the next elections, Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar said on Twitter: "Naftali Bennett is an Israeli patriot … We have worked in full cooperation for Israel and its citizens.
"I am sure he will return to serve the country in the future. Naftali, thanks and good luck!"
On Monday evening, Bennett and Lapid announced their agreement to dissolve the Knesset and hold early elections.
Later, early Tuesday morning, Israeli lawmakers passed the first reading of a bill that proposes the dispersal of the 24th Knesset, pushing the country into its fifth elections in three-and-a-half years.