Israelis will head to the polls on January 22, 2013, the government decided Sunday, less than a week after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that elections would be moved up.
The announcement makes official speculation that the government would attempt to push through elections as early as possible, as Netanyahu and his ruling Likud party attempt to make the most of what polls show is a sizeable lead.
The relatively short three-month electioneering period means jockeying has already begun among politicians looking for high spots on their party slates and strong showings at the polls.
“Even during the three-month election period, we will continue to act responsibly in order to safeguard the economy and, most importantly, to maintain Israelis’ jobs and even add to them,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu last Tuesday said he decided to call early elections after failing to come to a consensus among coalition members regarding the upcoming 2013 budget. Analysts expect the state budget to include several unpopular austerity measures.
Elections had originally been scheduled for fall 2013.
On Monday, the Knesset is expected to dissolve itself to pave way for the vote.