Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday chose January 22, 2013 as the
date for Israel's 19th general elections.
date was designated on a memo circulated by the Prime
Minister's Office regarding proposed legislation to dissolve the
Knesset, expected to be tabled to the Ministerial Committee for
Legislative Affairs on Sunday.
Netanyahu ignited an expedited election campaign Tuesday night when he called for early elections to take place.
a statement delivered at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem,
Netanyahu said that after completing a round of meetings with his
coalition partners, he concluded he could not pass the 2013 state budget
and has no choice but to initiate 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,” Netanyahu said.
According to two public opinion polls
published Thursday, Netanyahu stands to be the biggest beneficiary of his own decision to call early elections.
One poll, commissioned and published by Maariv
, saw Netanyahu's Likud increasing its seats in the Knesset to 29, up from 27. A second Haaretz
poll projected a Likud-led coalition comprised mostly of religious and
nationalist parties increasing to a commanding majority of 68 seats, up
from 66.Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.