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Israel May Hold Elections as Early as February

By Jonathan Lis and Barak Ravid

Coalition parties widely expect new elections to be held in February or March, due to problems in reaching agreement over the 2013 budget. Officially, elections aren’t supposed to take place until October 2013.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will hold a series of meetings with his coalition partners this week and next to see if agreement can be reached on the massive budget cuts he deems necessary for next year. This will be the first serious round of budget talks he has held – a fact that has contributed to the widespread view that he plans early elections, since early elections will be mandatory if the budget doesn’t pass by December 31.

After these talks, Netanyahu is expected to decide whether he sees a reasonable chance of passing the budget. If not, the view inside the coalition is that he will call elections.

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