Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced early elections on Tuesday evening, saying that they must be held "as soon as possible."

Likud sources said that Netanyahu would hold elections earlier than scheduled in order to catch his opponents off guard and to minimize damage to the economy.

The date previously discussed, February 13, 2013, marks four years since the last election. If the Knesset is dissolved on October 15, the earliest possible time to hold an election would be January 15, 2013.

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