Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday chose January 22, 2013 as the date for Israel's 19th general elections.I think there's at least 2 reasons the election is being called early: one, because he's not sure if Romney will win the election, and so this could make for a worthy insurance policy, and two, because the Hasidic parties like Shas and UTJ wouldn't guarantee their cooperation in passing the state budget without strings attached, which could've been demanding state funding for the former's yeshivas, for example. And Netanyahu shouldn't have to be held hostage to Shas' demands, which are more along the lines of socialism and entitlement, something that one of their former members, Chaim Amsalem, thought should be changed.
The 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.
In 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.
We'll see just how well all this works out.
Update: security concerns over Iran's nuclear threats are another reason why the election is being held early (Hat tip: Big Peace).