Israel: `Netanyahu bloc wants September 4 polls’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu`s ruling coalition has tabled a motion to dissolve Parliament.

Jerusalem: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu`s ruling coalition has tabled a motion to dissolve Parliament and call an early general election on September 04, Israeli media reported on Wednesday.

They said the motion from the coalition`s parliamentary chairman, Zeev Elkin, would be debated by the Knesset at the start of next week.

Public radio quoted MP Gideon Saar, like Elkin from Netanyahu`s right-wing Likud party, as saying that 61 members of the 120-seat house favoured that date.

News website Ynet said that the opposition preferred September 16.

Army radio said the bill to dissolve the Knesset was likely to get a preliminary reading on Monday and probably be passed into law by Wednesday.

Netanyahu himself has so far not confirmed publicly he intends to bring forward the election from its scheduled date of October 2013, but he is widely expected to announce the date at a Likud convention on Sunday.

Riding high in popularity polls, the Premier is said to favour early elections in a bid to strengthen his position before a potential fight over austerity measures and US elections in November.

Commentators said there were plenty of reasons for Netanyahu to favour bringing the vote forward, including the desire to consolidate his position before having to implement budget cuts later this year.

He is also looking to bolster domestic support before US elections in November, which could return US President Barack Obama to office.

Netanyahu has differed with Obama on issues ranging from the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process to Iran`s nuclear programme.

Another key reason for bringing the vote forward is a dispute over the issue of drafting Orthodox Jews into the Army, which has threatened the stability of Netanyahu`s coalition.


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