'PM expected to announce early elections tonight'

Likud sources say Netanyahu may call January elections in order to catch his opponents off guard, minimize damage to economy.

Netanyahu 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Netanyahu 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu may announce early elections on Tuesday night, according to Likud sources. The sources added that elections would be held in January, 2013, and not February 13, 2013, the date that had been previously discussed.
The 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 significance of the date February 12, is that it will be 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.
Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich responded to reports of the expected announcement, saying that early elections were necessary to put an end to the "unstable and unhealthy" condition of the state.
"The public must remember that Netanyahu is going to elections in order to immediately afterward, pass a brutal and difficult budget that will harm the life of almost every citizen in the country, except for the very wealthy," she stated.
"The public will choose between two approaches: Netanyahu's and mine. These elections will decide between a violent, jungle economy, and a fair economy and just society," the Labor leader added.
Yachimovich asserted that her party was both ideologically and organizationally prepared for election.
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On also issued a response, saying, "it is time for Netanyahu to redeem the citizens of Israel from his authority. The time has come for a government of the Left."
According to Gal-On, early elections would present "a rare opportunity for Israeli citizens to vote for the only party that understands the close relationship between a political settlement [with the Palestinians], an end to the occupation and economic and social justice."
"Without a strong Meretz presence in the next Knesset," Gal-On insisted, "there will be no social justice and the world will go on as normal."
"Meretz is the heart of the Left," she concluded.