Efforts to renew talks with Palestinians resume
The prime minister is believed to have decided on an early election, although budget negotiations continue.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to declare early elections within two weeks. Political sources increasingly believe that, although Netanyahu met Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz this morning to discuss the possibility of passing the state budget, the Prime Minister's Bureau has already decided to hold elections this winter, and to pass the 2013 budget afterwards. Elections will probably be held in February or March 2013.
Although a decision has already been taken at the Prime Minister's Bureau, and the efforts to reach an agreement with the coalition partners on the budget and austerity measures are only for the sake of appearances, it seems that Netanyahu prefers to delay an official announcement for early elections in order to shorten time for organizing by his political rivals. He wants a snap election within 90-100 days, in order to prevent Aryeh Deri, Tzipi Livni, and Ehud Olmert from organizing.
As things stand now, when the Knesset returns from its summer recess in mid-October, MKs will hold the second and third readings to disperse, and the election campaign will officially begin. Parties will probably hold primaries to draw up their lists in December.
In a few days, Netanyahu will meet the heads of the coalition parties to discuss the budget, but political sources believe that the talks are merely to go through the motions, to enable him to blame the early elections on Shas and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak's Ha'atzma'ut Party.
The sources believe that Netanyahu's main reasons for early elections are political, rather than budgetary. Besides the fact that a decision to approve an austerity-filled state budget before elections would mainly hurt the Likud, sources increasingly believe that Olmert plans to return to politics, which could undermine Netanyahu and remove him from power. If elections are brought forward to February, Olmert will not have enough time to prepare, and his return to politics will be delayed. The likely reelection of US President Barack Obama is also part of Netanyahu's calculations. Netanyahu's aides fear revenge by Obama against Netanyahu for supporting the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, throughout the campaign.
The latest polls published by "Globes" and "Haaretz" last week, which show the Likud winning 28 Knesset seats, are also a factor in the decision to hold elections as soon as possible. The Likud is afraid that, over time, other parties are liable to gain strength at the Likud's expense, as the public will blame it for the austerity measures.
Hints of Netanyahu's decision to call early elections can be found in his speech before the UN General Assembly last Thursday, when he postponed the red line for attacking Iran to next summer, which will allow him to put Iran's nuclear program at the top of his campaign agenda.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 2, 2012
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012
You comment was recieved and soon will be published.
Thank you for posting your comment, which will be reviewed for publication.
Load more comments
Contacts resume despite Monday's murder by a gunman of Baruch Mizrahi near Hebron.
Aryeh Deri: Shas won't sit in gov't with Lapid
The Shas leader told "Globes" the coalition must change its attitude to the poor.
Combat cameramen disprove Palestinian propaganda
A unit of highly trained combat soldiers uses cameras to document military operations.
Truth is proving stranger than folktale as Turkey's spins out of Prime Minister Erdogan's control.
Prof. Zvi Eckstein supports NIS 3.30-3.40/$ floor rate
The former deputy Bank of Israel Governor is the first senior figure from the financial system to advocate a floor rate.
2014 will be year of change
Forces reshaping the Middle East are coming to a head, with Russia taking a close interest, and the West seemingly indifferent.
Gains and losses for Middle East secularists
Recent developments in Egypt, Syria and Turkey have clarified some issues, and obfuscated others.
Developing robots for warfare
Israeli research sees the future battlefield dominated by robots and unmanned devices.
Geneva changes Middle East strategic map
As the consequences of the nuclear agreement with Iran emerge, regional powers are scrambling to adapt.
Egypt has no time to lose
Unless economic reforms are introduced quickly, the country is liable to relapse into Islamic extremism.
Strange goings on in Turkey
Two recent decisions by Turkish prime minister Erdoğan make it look as though he is losing his grip.
See you in six months, Rouhani
Israel may look isolated over the nuclear deal with Iran, but the cards could yet fall its way.
China is changing
The Third Plenum of the Communist Party of the Peoples' Republic of China marks a turning-point in all areas of Chinese life - with consequences for Israel.
French gov't proposes building 2 Tel Aviv light rail lines
The Green Line from Herzliya to Holon and the Purple Line from Kiryat Ono to Tel Aviv would cost NIS 30 billion to build.
Israel's factious coalition looks wobbly on Iran
Besides US opposition, the state of Israel's government makes an attack on Iran unlikely.
Budget cuts threaten 10,000 defense industry jobs
Senior executives warn many factories are in danger of closing due to the drying up of defense ministry's orders.