Israel PM warns of early election over budget: report
JERUSALEM - Agence France-Presse
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Reuters photoIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may bring forward next year's general election if he fails to pass what is expected to be a punishing austerity budget, local media reported on Thursday.
"Elections are supposed to take place in October 2013, but there is a possibility that they will take place in the first half of 2013 if no agreement is reached on the 2013 state budget," Netanyahu's legal adviser Avi Halevy said in remarks reported by the Jerusalem Post and Maariv newspaper.
His comments were made in an internal forum of Netanyahu's ruling rightwing Likud party in response to a motion calling for an immediate session of the faction's national convention, the papers said.
The state budget must be passed by the end of 2012.
Netanyahu's office had no comment on the reports.
In May, Netanyahu said he would seek an early election in September, but as parliament was voting on whether to dissolve itself he backtracked and made an 11th-hour deal to bring the opposition Kadima into the ruling coalition and ensure a cast-iron majority.
That political marriage collapsed after just 70 days, with Kadima head Shaul Mofaz citing irreconcilable differences over proposals to change the universal conscription law.