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Knesset Speaker Calls for Early Elections

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin has called on the Israeli parliament to disband itself and begin preparing for early elections.

“There can be no doubt that the decision to go to early election has been made and all the parties are preparing for elections,” Army Radio and other media quoted Rivlin as saying on Thursday. “It would be best” if the Knesset passed a resolution to disband itself “within days or even hours” of the opening of its winter session on Oct. 15 “instead of dragging the decision for weeks,” Rivlin said.

A member of the ruling Likud party, Rivlin predicted the early election probably would take place during the second half of February and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would win another term.

Elections may come because the governing coalition cannot agree on approving the 2013 budget. Shas, the Sephardic Orthodox party, is refusing to approve the proposed budget due to austerity measures that it says would hit poor populations hard.

“We are without budget for 2013 and in the midst of a global crisis that is threatening to sweep Israel with it,” Rivlin said. “Under the current financial situation, this reality is unacceptable.”

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