Elections are set to be held on September 4, Israel’s political leaders indicated on Wednesday.
A bill to dissolve the Knesset and set early elections will be brought up for discussion next Monday.
A poll reported by Channel 2 on Wednesday night predicted that the Likud would win 31 seats, Labor 17, Yisrael Beyteynu 13, Yesh Atid 12, Kadima 10 and Shas 8. The figures represent a dismal showing for the main opposition party Kadima, which currently holds 28 seats.
The vote was set for next week to allow Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to finish the traditional weeklong mourning period for his father, historian and Zionist leader Benzion Netanyahu, who died on Monday.
The early vote brings forward general elections from their scheduled date on October 22, 2013. Dissolving the Knesset is required to enable early elections.
Labor chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich and Meretz chairwoman Zahava Gal-On will bring forward preliminary versions of the bill Monday. Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin indicated that the debate on the bill would be expedited, and that the final version could pass into law as early as Tuesday or Wednesday.
Netanyahu made headlines last week by calling for early elections. He suggested August 14 or September 4, with the latter now the preferred date among most of the parties.
One of the main issues in setting a date for elections is the High Holiday period, which begins in mid-September and runs for about three weeks.
This is Israel’s 18th Knesset.