Netanyahu seeks early election on September 4
JERUSALEMIsrael is expected to hold early elections on September 4 after the ruling Likud party submitted a bill to dissolve parliament, with opinion polls on April 26 giving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a clear lead.
Netanyahu is expected to agree on an election date, earlier than its scheduled date of October 2013, when he returns to official duties on May 6. “There is agreement among most of the factions in the coalition and some of the factions in the opposition ... for the election to be held on September 4,” said Zeev Elkin, an influential member of the Netanyahu’s Likud party. Riding high in popularity polls, the premier is said to favor early polls in a bid to strengthen his position before a potential fight over austerity measures and U.S. presidential elections in November.
PM clear favorite
An opinion poll in the Maariv daily on April 26 showed Netanyahu’s Likud winning 31 seats in the 120-member parliament, a rise from its current 27, with the center-left Labor party taking 18, making it the next biggest party in the legislature.
The poll showed centrist Kadima, which won most seats in the last elections in 2009, dropping from 28 to just 11, the same as the fledgling party of Yair Lapid, a popular television personality who has recently turned to politics. As head of the biggest party, Netanyahu would need a number of partners to gain a parliamentary majority, a typical situation in Israel which has always been governed by coalitions.