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Netanyahu calls for early elections

By Layne Weiss     May 6, 2012 in World
Jerusalem - Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called for early elections during his speech at the Likud convention Sunday, the Jerusalem Post reports.
"It is preferable to have a short election campaign of 4 months that will swiftly return stability to the political ranks," Netanyahu said. "Political instability always leads to blackmail and populism; I will not allow that to happen."
According to BBC News, the election would take place in September, over a year before the originally scheduled election date of October 23, 2013.
Netanyahu then listed some reasons why he should be reelected, such as his government's economic and security achievements, The Jerusalem Post reports.
"Up until 3 years ago, Iran continued also uninterrupted with its nuclear program. Today, in large part because of our actions, the world is enlisted against the Iran nuclear program."
Netanyahu also vowed that Israel would "look for every opportunity to promote true peace" with its neighbors," but said promised that Israel would defend itself against threats, The New York Times reports.
According to CNN, observers are a bit surprised that Netanyahu formally called for early elections this soon.
BBC News' Wyre Davis has speculated on the timing of Netanyahu's decision. It could have to do with a junior coalition partner, the Nationalist Israel Beiteinu party over plans that would require ultra-Orthodox jews to be required to enlist in the Israeli Army.
The New York Times reports that under the Tal Law, ultra-orthodox Jews were exempt from army service, but now Netanyahu's coalition government is split on the issue.
Another reason for Netanyahu wanting to move up the election date may be to "strengthen his own position" if Barack Obama is reelected president of the US later this year, BBC News reports.
Obama and Netanyahu have disagreed on Israel's relations to Palestine and its threat of attacking Iran.
Netanyahu's Likud party is leading in opinion polls, The Washington Post reports. Most analysts expect Netanyahu to win the election.
He has been prime minister since 2009.
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