Sept. elections likely; poll shows big Likud lead (JERUSALEM POST) By LAHAV HARKOV 05/03/12)
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Coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) on Wednesday submitted a bill
to dissolve the Knesset, which will be put to a vote next week,
bringing an early election that is likely to take place on September
The Likud would have 31 seats in the next Knesset, with Kadima
dropping from largest to fifth-largest faction at only 10 seats, a
Dahaf Institute poll sponsored by the Knesset Channel showed
According to the poll, Labor will be the second-largest faction with
17 seats, followed by Yisrael Beytenu with 13 and Yair Lapid’s Yesh
Atid party with 12.
In addition, 62 percent of Israelis do not think an election is
necessary, and only 27% say an early vote would be for the good of
Following agreements by most parties in the coalition and opposition,
the bill to dissolve the Knesset is expected to be approved by the
Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Sunday, which will accelerate
the legislative process and put the bill to a preliminary Knesset
vote on Monday.
The bill’s first, second and third (final) readings are likely to
take place on Tuesday, setting an early election. The last day of the
18th Knesset is expected to be on Wednesday, May 9, during which its
final legislation will be approved.
Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office say Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu would like to hold an election as soon as possible, which
would be mid-August.
Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman said the same on Monday.
However, United Torah Judaism and Kadima said they prefer October,
after the High Holy Days and Succot.
Netanyahu is meeting with coalition party leaders in an attempt to
find a compromise on the date for the vote, as he sits the shiva
mourning period for his father, Benzion, who died on Monday at age
Most sources in the Knesset advocate September 4, 2012, as the
Until the legislature is dissolved, the election is set for October
Meanwhile, Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon pointed out an unexpected
result of an early election: The “Tal Law,” which expires on July 31,
will be automatically extended if the Knesset is not in session.
Yinon’s legal opinion came in a response to a letter from MK Moshe
Gafni (UTJ), who has fought to keep the Tal Law, which allows haredi
(ultra- Orthodox) yeshiva students to defer IDF service indefinitely,
even though the High Court of Justice ordered that it not be renewed.
Finding alternatives to the law has been a major political issue in
recent months, and is likely to be the center of several parties’
The Tal Law will not be canceled until after a new government is
formed, following the election. Elections may be held 94 days to five
months after the Knesset is dissolved, and it can take up to 100 days
after the vote to form a coalition. Therefore, the Tal Law will
remain intact for at least six months and up to eight months.
In Wednesday’s plenum meeting, Kadima argued against a snap election,
hoping it would be pushed off until after the High Holy Days, while
the coalition was adamantly in favor.
Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar (Likud) asked Kadima MKs from the
Knesset’s stage: “Is there any other place in the world where the
opposition fights to push off elections? You have been in the
opposition for three-and-a-half years, and you still say you are not
Pointing out that Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz called to replace the
government, Sa’ar quipped: “Here’s your chance. Let’s have a short
and matter-offact campaign season, where you present your platform
and we will show our achievements and the people will decide.”
MK Ronit Tirosh (Kadima) responded that her party wants the
government to fall, but she does not understand why expensive
elections have been called now.
“Netanyahu is just afraid that Liberman will catch up to him [in the
polls], and we are all paying the price,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Likud is preparing for its convention on Sunday, where
a date for the vote on the party’s candidates list will be announced.
Sources in the party said the primary is likely to take place in
Labor refused to confirm rumors about new members added to its list
for the 19th Knesset, but National Student Union chairmen Itzik
Shmuli and Stav Shafir, both leaders of last summer’s social justice
protests, are possible candidates.
Shafir spoke at the Labor Ideological Conference last month, while
Shmuli is also considering running with Yesh Atid.
Dan Slyper, an activist who supported Labor chairwoman Shelly
Yacimovich in the party’s leadership race, announced on Wednesday
night that he will run in the party’s primary.
Slyper will be the first openly gay man running for the Labor list.
Kadima MKs Nachman Shai and Marina Solodkin, two of former party
leader Tzipi Livni’s closest allies, denied media reports that they
and other like-minded Kadima lawmakers would leave the faction to run
with a Livni-led party for the 19th Knesset.
“The rumors started because some people are scared, since Mofaz
threatens different parties [than Livni], such as Likud and Shas,”
“I know Livni. She wants a break, and will probably be back for the
20th Knesset.” (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 05/03/12)
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