10 October 2012
In a statement delivered at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, Benjamin Netanyahu said that after completing a round of meetings with his coalition partners he had concluded that he could not pass the 2013 state budget and had no choice but to initiate early parliamentary elections. “My obligation as prime minister is to put the national interest above all else, and therefore I decided that the good of Israel requires going to elections now, as soon as possible. A three-month election campaign would be more preferable for Israel than a long campaign that would last an entire year and harm the economy. So after four years, we will go to elections. I will seek a new mandate to continue to lead the people of Israel,” Netanyahu said.
However, the premier did not provide an election date and he remained vague about the timing. Under Israeli law, the earliest possible election date would be 15 January 2013, three months after the Knesset resumes next Monday. Netanyahu blamed all his coalition partners in his speech for their unwillingness to make sacrifices on behalf of the nation. He said his government’s main accomplishments were maintaining the country’s security and economic and political stability.
Prior to his announcement, Netanyahu briefed President Shimon Peres, senior politicians in his Likud party, and the heads of the coalition and opposition factions.
Sources close to former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (Kadima) said he was under tremendous pressure to make a political comeback. “[Olmert] knows he only has a few days to make a decision,” a source close to him told the 'Jerusalem Post'. “People are pushing him, but he has told everyone, including the people close to him, that he has not decided yet.”
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, a former TV presenter, said he would reveal his party’s list of Knesset candidates within the next ten days. He declined to say whether the list would include former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni, who was mum about her political future on Tuesday night.
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