Israel sets date for early elections

2012-10-16 10:00
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (File, AP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Jerusalem - Israel's parliament voted overnight to dissolve itself and hold early elections on 22 January, officials said on Tuesday.

The dissolution of the Knesset was approved by 100 votes to none in a third reading after a lengthy session in the 120-seat chamber.

Last week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he wanted to bring forward the election - originally scheduled for October 2013 - because of the current deadlock among coalition partners over the passage of a budget packed with austerity measures.

Opinion polls suggest that Likud-leader Netenyahu and his coalition of right-wing and religious parties will win comfortably given the current regional tensions and the world economic crisis.

"I'm asking to hold elections on Tuesday, January 22 2013," Netanyahu told the house at the start of the debate.

"In less than 100 days the people of Israel will decide who will lead them in the face of the greatest security challenges which we have known since the founding of the state; who will lead them in the face of the toughest economic crisis the world has known in the past 80 years," he added.

Military action

Netanyahu has repeatedly said that the gravest strategic threat facing his country is a nuclear-armed Iran. The Islamic republic denies it wants nuclear weapons.

Israel, the Middle East's sole, if undeclared, nuclear power, will not rule out military action to prevent Tehran obtaining such arms.

"Anyone who belittles the threat which a nuclear Iran poses to Israel is not worthy of leading Israel for even one day," Netanyahu told the Knesset.

"Today we have the capabilities to act against Iran and its satellites; capabilities that we did not possess in the past," he said, without elaborating.

Following the decision to call an election, the Knesset is immediately dissolved and an election recess comes into force, marking the official start of campaigning.

A survey published last week by the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper found that Netanyahu and his allies were set to increase their number of seats to 68, while the opposition - comprising centrist, left-wing and Arab parties - would win just 52.


Netanyahu's existing coalition, which includes the centrist Independence party headed by Defence Minister Ehud Barak, currently holds 66 seats.

The Israeli leader said his decision to call a snap election was driven by the deadlock among coalition partners over the passage of a budget packed with austerity measures.

But commentators said Netanyahu had called an early vote to capitalise on his current standing in the polls, which show him holding a commanding lead over any potential rivals for the premiership.

Netanyahu did suffer a political blow over the weekend with the unexpected departure of his very popular communications and social affairs minister Moshe Kahlon.

Kahlon has not explained his reasons for stepping down but media reports said he was upset that Netanyahu failed to promise him the finance portfolio in the event of an election victory.

The next legislature will be the 18th in Israel's history.

Read more on:    benjamin netanyahu  |  israel  |  iran  |  middle east peace  |  iran nuclear programme

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Millions of plastic particles in our food!

Scientists and researchers believe that almost five million tons of plastic is dumped in the oceans every year and it’s affecting our food.



Plastic on your plate
Prince George the green prince?
Lean, green, drifiting machine
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

Trying to keep time for your social commitments and friendships as well as taking care of work and health obligations can be more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.