Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted on Wednesday that he may call early elections if the budget is not passed by the end of the year.

In response to an official demand by Minister of Improvement of Government Services Michael Eitan (Likud) for a meeting of the Likud party conference, Netanyahu wrote that if the 2013 budget does not win approval he would call early elections.

“There is a possibility that they will be brought forward to the first half of 2013,” Netanyahu wrote in his response to the appeal.

The newest budget is expected to include another round of austerity measures aimed at bringing order to the country’s finances.

A number of tax increases that went into effect over the summer, including on gas, beer and income, were widely unpopular.

Minister of Improvement of Government Services Michael Eitan (photo credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Minister of Improvement of Government Services Michael Eitan (photo credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Recent rumors have suggested that, with the budget still in the works and the end of the year approaching, Netanyahu will opt to disband the government and go to the ballot. Many believe the prime minister doesn’t want to have to face elections at the end of 2013 on the heels of an unpopular budget.

Eitan appealed to the Likud’s internal court over the delayed convening of a Likud conference, which he said, is against the party’s regulations.

In his response, Netanyahu said that, among other reasons, there is no point in holding a party conference if there are going to be early elections.